From left are Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons, Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius. The trial of the men, accused of the kidnapping and rape of Hannah Cornelius, was postponed. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Hannah Cornelius’s friend Cheslin Marsh is lucky to have survived the blunt-force injuries that fractured his skull in a deadly kidnapping and hijack attack last year.

On Monday, Tygerberg Hospital neurosurgeon Dr Taurai Gororo detailed before the Western Cape High Court the injuries sustained by Marsh in the attack on May 27 last year.

Gororo said CT scans showed that he had sustained a skull fracture, and there was also soft-tissue swelling on his eyes and skull.
At the bottom of the skull there was a crack that ran through. Gororo said that in relation to the crack there was a part where fluid was leaking into air cells behind the left ear.

Upon investigation and lab tests it was found that the fluid was cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a colourless fluid found in the brain and spinal cord. He said there were also contusions in the temporal lobe. 

“The skull fractures represent injuries of severe force to the skull. The hearing and balancing nerve runs in the base of the skull to the ear and was at risk of damage to the brain and ear.

“Most patients with this type of injuries are at an increased risk of dying. 

“Complication associated with this condition may include meningitis and epilepsy, which can turn terrible and kill someone. From that regard he was relatively lucky to survive,” said Gororo.

Based on his experience, he got the impression that the head injuries were caused by blunt force to the head and other parts of the body.

When asked by State prosecutor Lenro Badenhorst, the doctor confirmed that the injuries were consistent with bricks thrown at Marsh. 

Gororo said hearing tests on Marsh proved that his eardrum had burst open and the nerve that enables one to hear was damaged. He said Marsh was completely deaf in the left ear.  Cornelius, 21, was found dead on the side of the road close to a wine farm in Stellenbosch after she and Marsh were hijacked and kidnapped in her parked her in Stellenbosch.

Vernon Witbooi, Eben van Niekerk, Nashville Julies and Geraldo Parsons are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and rape. Video: Zodidi Dano/Cape Argus
Marsh was assaulted and dumped in bushes in Kraaifontein.  Vernon Witbooi, Eben van Niekerk,  Nashville Julies and Geraldo Parsons are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and rape.

Captain Josias van der Westhui zen, from the police’s criminal record centre, testified that four condoms were found at the crime scene. One, which was not used, was found in Witbooi’s pocket.

The trial continues today.


Cape Argus