OVERVIEW: 'Accused have no respect for human rights, they showed no mercy' - prosecutor in Hannah Cornelius case

2018-11-08 10:18

Sentencing proceedings of three men found guilty for the murder of Hannah Cornelius and the attempted murder of her friend, Cheslin Marsh, have kicked off in the Western Cape High Court.

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Last Updated at 06:30
08 Nov 13:01

08 Nov 12:57
"The community at large needs to be protected from people like the accused, especially accused number one (Witbooi) and two (Parson), who called the shots," Adv Badenhorst says.

08 Nov 12:52

My family died with my daughter - Hannah Cornelius' father's heartbreaking testimony

Willem Cornelius believes his family died with his daughter Hannah, and was buried when his wife "walked into the ocean a short time later and didn’t come back", the former magistrate testified in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

"Me and my son are not a family - we are the survivors who live in the ruins of what once was," Cornelius said during sentencing proceedings of the three men who raped and murdered his daughter.


08 Nov 12:50

08 Nov 12:43
ICYMI: One suspect has not yet been identified by the State, ostensibly a man called "Kaffertjie" who Witbooi mentioned in his confession. This suspect's DNA was also found at the rape scene.  

08 Nov 12:41
Elements of premeditation where Hannah Cornelius and Cheslin Marsh were threatened to hand over car keys or they would be killed, as well as revenge because Marsh had given them the wrong PIN, Badenhorst says.

08 Nov 12:41

08 Nov 12:40
If they wanted to show remorse, they could have by pleading guilty. Instead they claimed innocence, Advocate Badenhorst points out.

08 Nov 12:40

08 Nov 12:36

Regarding the rape of Hannah Cornelius, Adv Badenhorst says prescribed minimum setence is life in jail, specifically when committed with common purpose.

"The accused have no respect for human rights. They showed no mercy." 


08 Nov 12:26

08 Nov 12:24
Julius is a suitable candidate for rehabilitation, Advocate Collins says. Asks court not to take into consideration his past convictions of "petty theft and house break-in". 

08 Nov 12:22

08 Nov 12:17
Hannah Cornelius’ father retired judge Willem Cornelius. (Gallo Images)

08 Nov 12:06
Adv Johnson asks court to consider Van Niekerk's age and limited education. 

08 Nov 12:03

08 Nov 11:59

Parsons previously alleged in his testimony that Eben van Niekerk had stabbed Cornelius in the neck after she refused to get out of the boot at Groenhof farm.

But Judge Rosheni Allie said Parsons' evidence had not been disputed, and that the stabbing was one of several fatal wounds Cornelius had suffered in Van Niekerk’s presence.

Parsons previously admitted guilt on all the charges, despite pleading not guilty at the start of the trial.


08 Nov 11:53

08 Nov 11:52
Adv Omar Arend says Geraldo Parsons has "owned up" to his crimes. He was the only one of the accused who testified to his invovlement and admitted guilt on the stand. 

08 Nov 11:17
Vernon Witbooi. (Gallo Images)

08 Nov 11:12

News24 previously reported that Witbooi, in a confession to police, painted Geraldo Parsons as the mastermind.

Parsons, the only accused who elected to testify, claimed Witbooi had been the one calling the shots.


08 Nov 11:08
Money Vernon Witbooi could've obtained through theft or scrounging is what he used to pay for his children's maintenance, Advocate Vismer says. 

08 Nov 11:07

08 Nov 11:03

Vernon Witbooi's personal circumstances being presented through his advocate, Tim Vismer. He completed matric while in Brandvlei prison. He has 2 children.

"Drugs and the use of drugs played a role in the commission of these offences."


08 Nov 10:57

08 Nov 10:56
Mr Cornelius, a former magistrate, says he was medically boarded. He says he didn't believe he had the impartiality to continue being a magistrate after what had happend to Hannah.

08 Nov 10:55
Mr Cornelius says he doesn't believe his wife committed suicide, but she didn't have the physical or mental strength to deal with what happened. His son doesn't understand the concept of death, and asks when Hannah Cornelius is coming home because "her holiday is over". 

08 Nov 10:51

08 Nov 10:49

08 Nov 10:48

08 Nov 10:47

"All parents believe their children are exceptional. We were no different," Mr Cornelius says.

He speaks about her childhood; Hannah made friends easily and excelled at school.


08 Nov 10:44

08 Nov 10:40

Hannah Cornelius was like no one you have ever met. What she touched turned to gold, Prof Cornelius says.

The death sentence is not an option in SA. They will probably get parole in 25 years time, she points out.


08 Nov 10:39

08 Nov 10:38

Prof Eleanor Cornelius, Hannah Cornelius' aunt, is called to the witness box.

"How does one explain… how a child who did nothing wrong walks into a perfect storm?"


08 Nov 10:32

08 Nov 10:30
Mrs Marsh says they couldn't afford a hearing aid for Cheslin, but would have bought it at a later stage because he had wanted to continue with his studies. Stellenbosch University wrote off his student debt of R22 000. 

08 Nov 10:29

08 Nov 10:29
Geraldo Parsons, accused 2, is crying while he listens to Mrs Marsh.

08 Nov 10:29

08 Nov 10:25

Mrs Marsh says Cheslin was worried about Hannah Cornelius, saying the men were going to hurt her.

She starts to cry. "I asked myself, 'what kind of people would do something like this?' He didn't do anything to them."


08 Nov 10:24

08 Nov 10:21
Marilyn Marsh, Cheslin Marsh's mother, is called to the witness stand. Her son sits close by. She has been a single mother for the past seven years after the death of her husband. 

08 Nov 10:21

08 Nov 10:20
Advocate Lenro Badenhorst refers to Geraldo Parsons' criminal record. Between 2009 and 2014, he was convicted of two charges of house break-in, theft, and possession of stolen goods. He was released on parole in 2015. 

08 Nov 10:20

08 Nov 10:20
The State intends to call Cornelius' father, retired Simon's Town magistrate Willem Cornelius, an aunt, and Marsh's mother to testify in aggravation of sentence.

08 Nov 10:20

08 Nov 10:20

Hannah Cornelius accused found guilty on all charges

Three men accused of the rape and murder of Hannah Cornelius and the attempted murder of her friend Cheslin Marsh were found guilty in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.

Eben Van Niekerk, Geraldo Parsons and Vernon Witbooi appeared expressionless as Judge Rosheni Allie delivered her judgement. Fourth accused Nashville Julius, who was charged with robbery and kidnapping, was also found guilty.


08 Nov 10:20

Hannah Cornelius murder trial: Sentencing proceedings to get under way

Eben Van Niekerk, Geraldo Parsons and Vernon Witbooi were found guilty of the rape and murder of Cornelius and the attempted murder of Marsh. 

A fourth accused, Nashville Julius, who was only charged with robbery and kidnapping, was also found guilty. 

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