donovan moodley, leigh matthews, thabo bester

Leigh Matthews killer Donovan Moodley is accused of orchestrating a prison escape like Thabo Bester.
Images via X: @sabctindzaba

Thabo Bester 2.0? Leigh Matthews’ killer ‘orchestrated prison escape’

Another Thabo Bester? Donovan Moodley – who murdered student Leigh Matthews – unsuccessfully attempted to escape jail.

donovan moodley, leigh matthews, thabo bester

Leigh Matthews killer Donovan Moodley is accused of orchestrating a prison escape like Thabo Bester.
Images via X: @sabctindzaba

Before Thabo Bester’s infamous escape, another high-profile criminal – Donovan Moodley, who murdered Leigh Matthews almost 20 years ago – allegedly attempted to flee his prison cell.

This bombshell was made in the Johannesburg High Court this week, where the convicted killer challenged a parole board’s decision to deny him an early release in March.

Moodley – who accused the board of being “biased” against him – was successfully granted a review.

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According to TimesLive, Donovan Moodley’s bid to challenge his failed parole bid on 31 March 2023 took a dramatic turn when his alleged failed escape plan was brought before the court.

Moodley – an inmate at Johannesburg prison, nicknamed “Sun City” – attempted his escape in 2012.

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Leigh Matthews’ family advocate, Annade Theart-Hofmeyr, said in her address: “We have information that Mr Moodley was involved in an attempt to escape. We are asking that we be allowed to put this before the court, the minister, and the National Council [of Correctional Services]. 

“We’ve attached communications between the Hawks and a correctional services task team detailing how Moodley handed over cash, and we submit this has a direct bearing on his risk of recidivism.”

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

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  • According to court documents, Donovan’s elaborate plans  included the following:
  • Offering a police agent R200 000 for his successful escape, which would be paid in full once he fled to India.
  • Fleeing prison via the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where a backpack with new clothes and cash awaited him
  • Securing a firearm once free

The Hawks and Crime Intelligence planned a sting operation to catch Moodley, which never materialised.

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Meanwhile, Leigh Matthew’s family has welcomed the decision to have Donovan Moodley’s parole bid reviewed.

Leigh’s parents – Sharon and Rob Matthews – have 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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Advocate Tania Koen said in a Facebook post of the court’s ruling: “It will afford us the opportunity to place information about Moodley’s profile, including his attempted escape from prison,  before a newly constituted parole board. Judgment reserved”

Thank you Advocate Annade Theart-Hofmeyr for another sterling job in Johannesburg High Court today, representing the…

Posted by TANIA KOEN ATTORNEYS & CONVEYANCERS on Wednesday, 29 November 2023

Donovan pleaded guilty after confessing to shooting and killing Matthews in 2004.  In 2005, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 15 years for kidnapping, and ten years for extortion. 

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Following his 2005 conviction, Donovan appealed the court’s ruling multiple times. His requests had previously 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.