Moodley fails in bid to get life sentence overturned

Leigh Matthews’s killer, Donovan Moodley, will stop at nothing to have his life sentence overturned, he said on Wednesday shortly after the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg dismissed his application to do just that.

“I want to make this clear, I will stop at nothing, leaving no legal means untried,” he said in a hand-written statement given to journalists.

In it, he described himself as a “media favourite” and said it was his right to pursue justice.

“It is well past the right time for truth-seekers, but not too late, the right questions must be asked and pressure must be put on the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority],” Moodley said.

“The media must remain objective and not blindly accept all that is given to them by those who claim to enforce the law.

“I am not afraid to stand alone and fight, justice will come, I am stronger than ever.”

In his application to the court, Moodley had argued that the life sentence imposed on him four years ago by now-retired Judge Joop Labuschagne was harsh because the crime was not proved to have been premeditated.

After kidnapping Matthews (21) in July 2004, Moodley held the Bond University student for several hours and took R50 000 ransom money from her father, Rob.

He then shot and killed her before dumping her naked body in an open field in Walkerville to stop her from later identifying him.

Moodley’s legal adviser, Charles Thomson, had told the court that 15 years in jail would have been more suitable. He said that due to the media attention Moodley’s case received, it was possible that Labuschagne bowed to pressure to give the life sentence.

Labuschagne, who returned from retirement to hear the application, found that the life sentence was indeed suitable for Moodley.

Moodley is also serving an additional 15 years for Matthews’s kidnapping and 10 years for extortion.

“I am delighted [with the judgment], I hope he spends his life in jail,” said Rob Matthews, adding that Moodley had shown the kind of person he was and that he should serve his full sentence.—Sapa

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