Cape Town - The trial of the accused in the murder of Maties student Hannah Cornelius was postponed for three months to allow for a judge to be assigned to the case.
State prosecutor, advocate Lenro Badenhorst, told the stand-in judge, Judge Daniel Thulare, that the Western Cape High Court roll was full and a judge was yet to be allocated to the case. Judge Thulare postponed the matter to October 8.
Alleged killers Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons, Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Cornelius, 21, was found dead on the side of Koelenhof Road, close to a wine farm in Stellenbosch on May 27, last year.
She 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.
In the State’s indictment it is alleged that the four men threatened to kill or inflict harm on Marsh, pointing a knife and screwdriver at him. They forced him into the boot of Cornelius’s Volkswagen Citi Golf. They proceeded to rob him of his cellphone, wallet, cash and clothing.
Marsh escaped in Bottelary Road by jumping over the wall to a house in Bernadino Heights where he was found by couple, Averal and Margaret Fortuin, drenched in blood. Marsh suffered serious head injuries and a broken arm in the attack.
Accused one to three - Witbooi, Parsons and Van Niekerk - are accused of raping Cornelius and soon after her body was dumped near Groenhof Farm in Stellenbosch. The three accused allegedly stabbed Cornelius twice with a sharp object in her neck. A big rock was thrown at her head. Her Citi Golf vehicle was later used in two other robberies on the same day of Cornelius’s murder, in Kuils River and Brackenfell. Both victims were females.
Badenhorst said that Marsh, who is the State’s key witness has applied to go to the US for employment, but has not yet received a contract.
He added that the district surgeon who took DNA samples from the accused was now living in Australia.