Donovan Moodley
Donovan Moodley

Keep Moodley in jail, says family of Leigh Matthews

By Janine Moodley Time of article published Jun 25, 2021

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Durban: The family of slain Leigh Matthews has given their attorneys a mandate to keep their daughter's murderer in jail.

They were notified that Donovan Moodley was up for parole. The family intended on attending the parole hearing.

Moodley is currently serving a life sentence for murdering Matthews, a 20-year-old student from Bond University in Johannesburg.

On July 9, 2004, Moodley, also a student there, abducted Matthews at gunpoint from the university parking lot where he tied her hands and gagged her before pushing her into the boot of his vehicle. Shortly after the kidnapping, a ransom demand was made to Matthews' father Rob, who dropped off R50 000 at a toll plaza, south of Johannesburg.

On July 24, 2004, Matthews' body was found in an open veld in Walkerville. She was shot four times.

Matthew's family, with the help of Women and Men Against Child Abuse, a non-profit organisation, held a press conference at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton on Tuesday.

They said officials from correctional services called them for mediation ahead of Moodley's parole hearing. There was a possibility of early release. The family intends on opposing the application.

Rob Matthews expressed his frustration of trying to obtain information from the Department of Correctional Services.

"I don't think victims should be victimised again. Why is it that whenever I try to communicate with correctional services, I get bounced mails? How will a person living in a rural area be able to make contact with the department? It should be the other way around. The department should be making contact with us."

He said there would never be a reconciliation with Moodley and that he wanted him to stay in jail.

"He has lied so many times. It is hardly any benefit to get in front of Moodley for the truth."

Matthews said one aspect that was still missing for them as a family was the details surrounding those 12 days when Moodley took his daughter.

"The judge was very clear that the crime was not a crime undertaken by Moodley himself. To this day, we are in limbo and there are no answers that are forthcoming."

He called for transparency and accountability from the department.

Attorney Peter van Niekerk, who is representing the Matthews family, said: "When opposing a parole application, there are two pillars one has to deal with. These are the seriousness of the crime and remorse. Moodley was convicted of three serious crimes, murder, kidnapping and extortion."

He said Moodley's crime was carefully planned.

"Moodley deceived Matthews into giving him a lift and out of the kindness of heart, she does. He points a firearm at her and puts her in the boot of his vehicle and drives around for a couple of hours. One cannot imagine the angst and trauma she must have gone through.

"Then he extorted money from the Matthews family and in response said he would release their daughter. He shoots her four times. This is not someone, in my view, who should be let out ... He has brought appeal after appeal and in my view, does not show the conduct of someone who has remorse."

Logan Maistry, the deputy commissioner of communications at the Department of Correctional Services, said no parole decision was taken yet and that the department was in consultation with the victims.

"Parole is not a right, and consideration for possible placement on parole is initiated approximately six months before an inmate reaches his or her minimum detention period and/or further profile dates in line with relevant legislation.

"Once all requirements have been completed and complied with due processes followed, the Minister of Correctional Services will make a decision on whether or not to grant parole."

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