GERALDO Parsons mocks community members cheering at his life sentence. He and three others convicted of the murder of Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius received a combined 358 years’ imprisonment. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - It's been a busy year in the Western Cape High Court, with several murder cases hogging the headlines.

On Tuesday the court heard an application to have alleged wife killer Robert Packham’s bail revoked.

Packham is accused of killing his wife Gill and dumping her body in a burning car.

Packham’s case, yet to go on trial, follows another heavily reported intimate partner crime: that of former property mogul Jason Rohde.

Rohde was found guilty of killing his wife Susan and staging the murder as a suicide.

Susan’s body was found on July 24, 2016, with an electronic cord around her neck, hanging from a hook behind the bathroom door of their room at the Spier Wine Estate Hotel.

The trial has been postponed to February for sentencing proceedings to resume. The court could be hearing the testimony of the couple’s oldest daughter, Kathryn.

The Hannah Cornelius trial made waves, as gruesome details emerged of how the 21-year-old Stellenbosch student was tortured in an 11-hour crime spree as her killers held her captive in her own car before they raped and stabbed her, and then stoned her to death.

Her friend, Cheslin Marsh, was forced into the boot, hit with bricks, dumped in bushes and left for dead. As a result he is deaf in his left ear and has discontinued his studies in theology.

Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons, Eben Van Niekerk and Nashville Julies were convicted and sentenced to a combined 358 years’ imprisonment.

Witbooi and Parsons were sentenced to two life terms plus 115 years, Van Niekerk to two life terms and 128 years while Julies got 22 years.

Shocking killings by family members and opportunistic thugs made headlines this year.

The case of axe murderer Henri van Breda saw a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that allowed the media to live-stream and record the trial.

Van Breda, 23, was convicted in May for the murder of his parents, Martin and Theresa, and brother,Rudi, at the family’s De Zalze Estate home in Stellenbosch. He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of his sister, Marli, and defeating the ends of justice. Judge Siraj Desai sentenced him to three life sentences and 15 years for the attempted murder charge.

Finally, the murder trial of Wellington author Winnie Rust by a child whom she had trusted and helped left many heartbroken. Nigel Plaatjies, 17 at the time of the murder in May 11, 2016, and his uncle, Johannes Plaatjies, plotted to kill Rust in her home. She was strangled to death and her valuables stolen. The two were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.


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Cape Argus