Stellenbosch cop recounts dramatic chase that led to arrest of Hannah Cornelius murder suspect

2018-10-15 19:59
Hannah Cornelius (21).

Hannah Cornelius (21).

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A Stellenbosch police sergeant on Monday recounted a dramatic chase through a local farm that resulted in the arrest of one of the men accused of the brutal rape and murder of student Hannah Cornelius.

Sergeant Clifton Adams was on duty on May 27 last year when he became aware of a hijacked blue Citi Golf being pursued in the student town early that afternoon, he testified in the Western Cape High Court.

He and his partner spotted the car and gave chase, joining a convoy which had already been chasing the car as it headed toward the Devon Valley Road, eventually coming to a stop at Dwars-in-die-Weg Farm.

CCTV footage showed officers, including Adams, jumping out of their vehicles and chasing after two suspects who deserted the stolen car inside the venue and fled in different directions.

Adams estimated that the pursuit was over a distance less than a kilometre, snaking through the farm's function venue, vineyards and towards the farmworkers' homes.

A fellow officer had shouted for the suspect to lie down, and he complied.

He pointed out Geraldo Parsons as the man he had cuffed that day before taking him to the holding cells of the Stellenbosch police station.

Parsons, Vernon Witbooi, Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius face a string of charges including murder, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and rape.

The men allegedly accosted Cornelius and her friend Cheslin Marsh in her VW Citi Golf at the corner of Jan Celliers and Bird streets in the early hours of May 27, 2017.

Cornelius was threatened with a screwdriver while Marsh was forced into the back seat of his friend's car at knife point.

Cornelius was raped and stabbed to death.

Marsh was robbed of his cellphone and clothes and forced into the car's boot. He was later assaulted with bricks and left for dead.

Permanent ear damage

Dr Taurai Gororo of Tygerberg Hospital, who examined Marsh after his ordeal, on Monday testified that Marsh, who was a student at the time, had suffered a base of skull fracture, among other injuries, and that he was lucky to have survived.

He said Marsh would never be able to play contact sports such as rugby because of his injuries.

WATCH: CCTV footage shows kidnapping of Hannah Cornelius and friend

The damage to Marsh's left ear is permanent and he will never be able to hear through it again.

Hannah Cornelius

Vernon Witbooi during the pointing out parade, indicating where the gang rape of Hannah Cornelius took place. (Supplied)

 

Witbooi, who in a confession admitted to being with his co-accused that night but denied any involvement in the rape and murder, had also pointed out the area where the attacks apparently took place that night.

Marsh is alleged to have been attacked on Bottelary Road near the Kraaifontein sewage plant.

Cornelius was, according to Witbooi, raped near the Bottelary Sports Club.

Drugs, drug and paraphernalia found in car

He indicated that it had been dark that night, and he could not give an exact location.

Police photographer Brandon van der Merwe was also called to the witness box where he confirmed that he had photographed the scene the morning Cornelius' body was found.

He said when her body was discovered, Cornelius had been lying on her stomach. One of her earrings was missing from her ear and a large rock was close to her remains.

Numerous condom wrappers were photographed at the scene of the rape.

He also photographed her car after it was deserted by the suspects. The photos show an Okapi knife, a screwdriver, drugs and drug paraphernalia, an empty cooldrink bottle and cigarette butts in the car.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

Read more on:    hannah cornelius  |  cape town

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.