Even the most saintly of citizens would find it hard to find redeeming qualities in Donovan Moodley, the monster who kidnapped and murdered young Joburg student Leigh Matthews.
Seven years after the Bond University student was abducted from the universitys carpark, and eventually found shot dead 12 days later after a ransom had been demanded and paid, Moodley should be an ugly memory in the minds of the public, serving his life sentence in the anonymity of prison. For her family though the memories would have been of a different kind altogether, assuaged in some way perhaps by the knowledge that her killer was behind bars for good.
But this week Moodley and his heinous crime were back in the public eye as he appeared in the Johannesburg High Court, seeking a retrial. In attendance were Leigh’s parents, Rob and Sharon Matthews. Moodley took umbrage when Sharon told the media he was a psychopath, a sentiment echoed by the now retired investigating officer, Piet Byleveld. In fact much of Donovan’s application appears to be based on casting the blame on Byleveld for supposedly torturing him and lying to the trial court.
Byleveld was called in after Leigh’s abduction when other police officers had failed to trace her, or as it turns out her body. Through solid detective work he found the evidence led to Moodley, who promptly apologized in front of his parents for what he had done to Leigh. In the face of strong evidence he pleaded guilty, and his High Court sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The straight-talking Byleveld regards Moodley’s latest version - that drug dealers killed Leigh - as “a total load of crap”. That is for the court to decide, but in the meantime nothing has been done to dispel two distressing mysteries about the kidnapping and murder of Leigh: where was the body stored in cold storage for days before being dumped in the veld? And who were Moodley’s accomplices? Byleveld’s investigations found other people must have been involved, but none have yet been charged. That is a reopening of the case that would be welcomed by all, except perhaps a psychopath.