Leigh Matthews ransom money returned

Minutes after Rob Matthews heard his daughter’s killer wanted a retrial, the ransom he paid was returned to him, Independent Online reported on Monday.

It said a cheque for R50 000—the amount he paid to Donovan Moodley for Leigh’s safe release—was handed over to Matthews by advocate Camilla Botes of the Johannesburg asset-forfeiture unit on Friday.

The unit gained a confiscation order after Moodley was charged with kidnapping and murdering Leigh and extorting money from her family.

The order entitled them to seize assets to the value of R53 500—equal to the ransom plus the value of a ring Moodley stole from Leigh.

The ring was subsequently recovered.

Last year, the unit seized Moodley’s BMW 3-series, Toyota Tazz, Ducati motorbike and trailer as well as the ring he had bought for his girlfriend, Yeshika Singh. He did not oppose the action.

The assets would have been sold, but Moodley’s family chose to pay the state to have the goods returned to them.

Moodley told the Johannesburg High Court on Friday that he intends applying for a retrial.

He had gone on trial in July, and within 10 minutes of the start of court proceedings, he pleaded guilty on all counts. He told how he kidnapped Leigh and decided to shoot her to stop her from identifying him.

Judge Joop Labuschagne accepted Moodley’s guilty plea, but said he had not been honest with the court.
He found that Moodley had not acted alone.

Rob Matthews said he was relieved that the matter of the ransom had been resolved.

“I just want the message to go out that crime doesn’t pay.”

Matthews said he would give some of the money to the Leigh Matthews Trauma Centre, where it would be used to cover the centre’s start-up costs.—Sapa

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