Leigh Matthews, donovan moodley

The family of Leigh Matthews is opposing a parole application by her killer Donovan Moodley.
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‘Victory for victims’: Leigh Matthews’ family fight for killer to stay behind bars

The family of Leigh Matthews are fighting back against her killer Donovan Moodley’s urgent application to be granted parole.

Leigh Matthews, donovan moodley

The family of Leigh Matthews is opposing a parole application by her killer Donovan Moodley.
Image via Twitter:

The family of Leigh Matthews has opposed an urgent parole application by her killer, Donovan Moodley. They’re also asking for the parole board to include the opinions of loved ones left behind – which they believe would be a “victory for victims.”

The late Bond University student was kidnapped and murdered in 2004. She had just turned 21 years old.

In March 2023, Moodley was denied parole for the fifth time, claims IOL. He is now seeking a recommendation by the parole board to be set aside in his quest for an early release.

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In 2004, the naked body of Leigh Matthews was found after being kidnapped and murdered. 

Donovan Moodley pleaded guilty after confessing to shooting and killing Matthews.  In 2005, Donovan was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for kidnapping, and 10 years for extortion. Moodley’s sentence runs concurrently.

This week, Leigh’s family attorney, Tania Koen, appeared in the Gauteng High Cout to oppose Donovan’s application. Moodley has challenged the parole board’s recommendation that he not be granted an early release.

Tania – who brought her own application to intervene – claims Moodley did not inform them of his court appearance.

ALSO READ: Leigh Matthews: Donovan Moodley wants minister to show ‘Ubuntu’

Speaking to The South African, she shared: “We say the victims have a right to be part of the proceedings. The judge is prepared to hear us. It will be a victory for victims if we are successful.”

For Leigh Matthews on behalf of the Matthews family. #doingitforleigh Karen Hidden 💕 Victims have a voice.

Posted by Tania Koen on Monday, 21 August 2023

The hearing has been postponed to the end of October.

Of Leigh Matthews’s family, Tania – who also represents the family of Reeva Steenkamp – continued: “They are relieved to be afforded the opportunity to argue the matter before the court to join the proceedings as they believed that victims also have a voice.”

The Matthews family has been vocal about their belief that Moodley is neither remorseful over his actions nor that he told the truth about what happened. They also claim that his parole profile lacks crucial information, which could hinder a possible early release.

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On 31 March, a parole board denied Donovan Moodley’s fifth parole application. 

Moodley – who is studying law in prison and who became eligible for parole in 2018 –  is now demanding an early release based on the spirit of “Ubuntu.” 

But according to Leigh Matthews’s parents, Rob and Sharon, the move would be grave, as he is “extremely dangerous.”

In 2021, 17 years after Leigh’s murder, IOL reported that Donovan was up for a parole hearing.

Leigh matthews, donovan moodley
Leigh Matthews’s father, Rob, believes Donovan Moodley does not deserve parole. Image via YouTube screenshot: eNCA

In January 2022, the family of Leigh Matthews hotly contested the process as part of their mediation. Ultimately, Moodley  – who claimed that his application was “not assessed fairly and objectively” – was denied parole.

Fast forward to March 2023, and Donovan was given another parole hearing. Again, he was unsuccessful. According to The Citizen, the parole board recommended to Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola that Donovan should not be given an early release.

ALSO READ: Last Christmas behind bars for Leigh Matthews’s killer Donovan Moodley?

Donovan has now submitted court documents to the Gauteng High Court, asking the minister to show him “Ubuntu.” 

Following his 2005 conviction, Donovan Moodley has appealed the court’s ruling multiple times. His requests have been denied by the Gauteng High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the Constitutional Court.

Donovan’s request for a retrial – based on claims he was “framed” – was also denied.