Murder and rape trial of Maties student #HannahCornelius begins
Cornelius, 21, was found dead on the side of Knorhoek Road, close to a wine farm in Stellenbosch on May 27 last year.
Cornelius was last seen hours before her death with a close friend Cheslin Marsh, before they were brutally attacked by four men while in her car in Bird Street, Stellenbosch.
Marsh escaped the attack by jumping over a wall to a house in Bernardino Heights where he was found by couple, Averal and Margaret Fortuin, drenched in blood. Marsh sustained serious head injuries and a broken arm from the attack.
Cornelius’s Citi Golf vehicle was later believed to have been used in an armed robbery in Northpine, between Brackenfell and Kraaifontein.
The four accused Vernon Witbooi, Eben van Niekerk, Nashwill Julies and Geraldo Parsons are facing charges of murder, kidnapping and rape.
Two of the suspects were apprehended following a chase where they had been driving Cornelius’s car on the day her body was found, the fourth suspect was arrested on May 29, 2017.
The trial follows an unsuccessful plea and sentencing agreement attempt which was heard by High Court judge Mushtak Parker.
At the time, the Stellenbosch student’s brutal murder sparked outrage from the university community.
Stellenbosch students during the bail hearing held a demonstration outside the local court calling for “no bail”.
The students said they were filled with fear after Cornelius’s hijacking.
At the time student activist, Luke Waltham, said: “We, as students of Stellenbosch University and residents of this community, are horrified, disgusted and appalled. A massive concern that we have is that there are many double standards with regards to security and police on Stellenbosch campus and around town."@Zoey_Dano