Posted on November 7, 2018

Three Black Men Found Guilty of Kidnapping, Rape, and Murder of Hannah Cornelius

Sara Malm, Daily Mail, November 7, 2018

Three men have been found guilty of kidnapping, gang-raping and murdering a university student in South Africa last year.

Hannah Cornelius

Hannah Cornelius, 21, was carjacked by four men while dropping off fellow student Cheslin Marsh, 22, at his home in Stellenbosch, west of Cape Town, after a night out in May 2017.

The men robbed and assaulted Mr Marsh and left him for dead, before brutally raping Ms Cornelius, stabbing her in the neck and crushing her skull with a rock.

Geraldo Parsons, 27, Vernon Witbooi, 33, and Eben van Niekerk, 28, have today been found guilty of the rape and murder, as well as the kidnap, robbery and attempted murder of Mr Marsh.

Vernon Witbooi, 33, Geraldo Parsons, 27, Eben van Niekerk, 28, and Nashville Julius, 29

A fourth man, Nashville Julius, 29, was found guilty of kidnapping and robbing Ms Cornelius and Mr Marsh, News 24 reports.

Parsons had previously told the court during the trial that the quartet had only intended on stealing Ms Cornelius’ car and that the incident spiralled after they saw the two students still inside.

He said the desperate student had bargained with them, agreeing to let the men sexually assault her — as long as they let her live.

However, several of the men brutally raped her, after which they threw her into the boot of her own car, and drove her to a secluded spot where they murdered her.

CCTV footage released during the trial shows how the incident began in the early hours of May 27, 2017.

Four men are seen surrounded Ms Cornelius’ VW Golf, parked outside the block of flats where Mr Marsh lived.

Mr Marsh says they had ended up chatting in the car, and were interrupted by a man putting a screwdriver to Ms Cornelius’ chest through the open window.

They were forced out of the car, after which Mr Marsh was robbed of cash and his phone and locked in the car boot.

The four men forced Ms Cornelius to get back into the car with them, after which they drove to a drug dealer’s home to smoke crystal meth, before they drove out of Stellenbosch and pulled over near a local vineyard.

They reportedly dragged Mr Marsh out of the boot and made him lay his head on a rock on the ground before battering his skull with bricks until they thought he was dead.

Cheslin Marsh

Mr Marsh recovered consciousness the following day, and staggered to a nearby home suffering severe head injuries and a broken arm to raise the alarm about Ms Cornelius.

Unknown to him her body had been found just hours earlier, dumped by the roadside.

After the rape and murder of Ms Cornelius, the gang went on a crime spree in the hijacked car, robbing at least three women before the stolen car was spotted and a high speed police chase began.

Three were arrested after dumping the car and fleeing and the fourth was arrested later.