Hannah Cornelius' final hours - what the State alleges

2018-06-11 15:43
Matie student Hannah Cornelius. (Netwerk24)

Matie student Hannah Cornelius. (Netwerk24)

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Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius was beaten into submission, before being forced to drive with her attackers, who would eventually rape and murder her.

This is according to details included in the indictment of the case against Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons, Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius, who face a string of charges, including murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and rape.

Their trial was postponed on Monday in the Western Cape High Court, as no judge was available to hear the matter.

According to details included in the indictment, Cornelius and her friend Cheslin Marsh were accosted in her Citi Golf at the corner of Jan Celliers and Bird streets in the early hours of May 27, 2017.

Cornelius was beaten into submission and threatened with a screwdriver, while a knife was wielded on Marsh, who was forced into the back seat of his friend's car.

Cornelius was pushed between the two seats and robbed of her purse and cellphone, while Marsh's clothes, cellphone, wallet, longboard, backpack and earrings were forcefully taken.

It is understood that, after the robbery, Julius left the scene.

It is alleged that Witbooi, Parsons and Van Niekerk then drove to another location in Stellenbosch, where Marsh was forced into the boot. They then headed to Kraaifontein, where Marsh was assaulted and stoned with bricks and left for dead.

Read: Matie murder: Friend jumped over wall to safety

Cornelius was then driven to a bush near a paintball range in Bottelary Road, where she was raped.

From there, she was taken to an area near the Groenhof Farm in Stellenbosch, where she was stabbed twice in the neck. She also sustained severe blunt force trauma to her head and body, ostensibly after a "big rock" was thrown at her.

Arrested after chase

The three then allegedly went on a crime spree. They are accused of chasing, assaulting and robbing a woman of her bag, two cellphones, pearls and wallet in Northpine Drive, between Brackenfell and Kraaifontein.

They are accused of then driving to Soneike in Kuils River, where they grabbed a woman's bag and assaulted her, before forcing her into Cornelius' car. The kidnapped woman was taken to an ATM in Brackenfell and robbed of R3 000 in cash, two cellphones and her wedding ring.

They were arrested that same day, on their way back to Stellenbosch, when Cornelius' car was spotted and a chase ensued.

According to prosecutor Lenro Badenhorst, one of the State's main witnesses - Marsh - has applied to work in the US. Should he have already left by the time of the trial, necessary arrangements would have to be made for him to return to testify.

The district surgeon who took the accused's DNA, Dr Marianne Tiemensma, is also not in the country, as she has immigrated to Australia. Badenhorst said arrangements would also have to be made to allow her to testify, unless admissions were used.

The matter was postponed until October 8.

Cornelius' father is retired Simon's Town magistrate Willem Cornelius.

Her mother, Anna Cornelius, 56, was found dead in March along the shores of Scarborough, less than a year after Hannah's murder.

Read more: Mother of slain Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius found dead

Police had opened an inquest docket into her death.

Read more on:    hannah cornelius  |  cape town  |  courts  |  crime

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