Moodley has 'no feeling or guilt'

Testimonies of pain from the father of Leigh Matthews and the father of the man who confessed to killing her, Donovan Moodley, were heard in the Johannesburg High Court on Thursday.

Rob Matthews told the court that Moodley, who was arrested for Leigh’s murder on October 4 last year, has conducted himself in a way that no longer gives him a right to life.

Moodley confessed on Monday to kidnapping, extortion and the murder of Leigh Matthews, whose body was found in a field in Walkerville by a grass cutter in July last year.

Rob, after sipping a glass of water, read out a statement on behalf of his family.

He said Moodley is a manipulative character and should never be given an opportunity to apply for parole.

“It is difficult to believe that anyone can be so cruel, calculating, heartless and devoid of a conscience,” he said.

Rob said Leigh was somebody who always opted to watch a comedy or a drama, never a thriller or a horror movie.

“Once when going on holiday as a family, we hired a story tape to play in the car during the trip. After the first two chapters, Leigh insisted that we turn the story off. She was not able to handle the content of the story, titled Silence of the Lambs.

“When it came to her body, Leigh was a private person and always covered herself.

“How ironical that she should be the subject of such a traumatic 12 hours, before cruelly meeting her death ...
Forced to strip naked in front of this man who had terrorised and tormented her, her body then found lying naked in a veld.

“There was a moment of irony during the court proceedings when Moodley complained that he felt caged when seats were taken behind him. I wonder how Leigh felt gagged and blindfolded in the boot of his car.

“As a family, we firmly believe that Leigh knew Mr Moodley, otherwise she would not have given him a lift.”

Rob said that when he spoke to Moodley on the phone on the day of the kidnapping, Moodley was persuasive, cool, calm and controlled.

“I believed him. I kept my part of the deal. Even criminals should have a sense of honour.

“There is a deep side to Mr Moodley that no one knows or acknowledges. What unfolded was the work of someone with no soul. A person with no feeling or guilt.

“It is diabolical to now hear that Mr Moodley is sorry. It is easy to say sorry.”

Moodley looked down, with no visible emotion, as Rob read the statement.

As Rob said he wishes for the judge to impose a sentence that will remove Moodley from society for as long as the law provides, there were shouts of “yes” from the public gallery.

‘He doesn’t deserve anything’

Donovan Moodley’s father, Stephen, was the final and only witness called by the defence.

He described his son and spoke directly to the Matthews family.

“We wish to express our sympathy. I feel ashamed that we as a family must be associated with a crime such as this. We assume responsibility as well because he is our son and will always remain our son. We can never ease the pain. I pray that they [the Matthews family] will forgive my son. They are the only ones who can.

“He doesn’t deserve their forgiveness. He doesn’t deserve anything. But I hope they give it to him for closure.”

Stephen said his son had told them he was going on a biking trip during the time of the kidnapping and the news of his arrest came as a shock.

He described his son as a good student, who never had any trouble passing exams.

He said Donovan spent most of his time at home under his supervision and that of his wife, Mary.

“My wife and I did everything possible to give him the best in life.”

Stephen said that after finishing school, his son had grown more introverted, but never showed any violent behaviour or aggressiveness.

“We as parents had hoped he would follow in my footsteps [as a pastor].”

He said he was extremely proud of his son when he was promoted to financial manager at his work place. Donovan, he said, had never struggled financially.

What upset him, however, was when his son bought a firearm and when he got a tattoo on his upper arm.

“I asked him, ‘Why did you do this?’. ‘It’s only a tattoo,’ he replied. He laughed and walked away.”

Referring to the Matthews family, a crying Stephen said: “Our pain is nowhere near their pain.

“I wish to God there was something we could do to take away that pain.”—Sapa

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