Men who brutally assaulted and murdered 21-year-old university student laugh and smile during sentencing
Hannah Cornelius was kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered by four men who were armed with knives before they dumped her body by the roadside
The men who kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered a South African university student, Hannah Cornelius, have reportedly been sentenced to life imprisonment. 27-year-old Geraldo Parsons, 33-year-old Vernon Witbooi and 28-year-old Eben van Nieker were found guilty on multiple charges, including rape, murder, kidnapping, robbery and attempted murder of Hanna's friend Chelsin Marsh.
Reports state that the Western Cape High Court on Monday sentenced all three accused to two life terms each for Hannah's rape and murder. Parsons and Witbooi were also handed 25 years for attempted murder, 20 years for robbery, 15 years each for four counts of robbery and 10 years for kidnapping.
Meanwhile, Van Niekerk was sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder, 20 years for robbery, 10 years for kidnapping Hannah and Cheslin and an additional eight years for kidnapping another woman in October, according to the Daily Mail. Another man, 29-year-old Nashville Julius, was also sentenced to 15 years for two counts of robbery and seven years of kidnapping.
Hannah, a 21-year-old student, was kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered by four men in South Africa, who were armed with knives and had caught her off guard by storming into her car. She had reportedly pulled up outside her fellow student's flat around midnight. 22-year-old Cheslin Marsh's was with her when the attackers rushed towards her car and stormed in. One of the four men reportedly held a screwdriver to her chest through the open window while the other put a knife to her friend at the back. They reportedly shouted at Marsh, saying: "Sit still or she dies."
The court was told that Marsh was robbed of cash, his phones and was locked in the car boot while the suspects allegedly drove to a drug dealer's home to buy drugs and smoked crystal meth. Cornelius, daughter of a magistrate, was reportedly wedged between the men in the back seat of the car which was given to her by her grandmother as a birthday present. The judge was told that the gang drove out of the upmarket town of Stellenbosch near Cape Town and hauled Marsh into the bushes. The men allegedly lay his head on the rock and bashed his skull until they thought he was dead.
Judge Allie recounts the facts of the night Marsh lost his friend Hannah Cornelius and nearly lost his own life. https://t.co/PCCBf7M32x— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) November 7, 2018
Reports state that when Marsh gained consciousness, he realized he had suffered severe head injuries and a broken arm, yet, he staggered to a nearby home to raise the alarm about Cornelius. However, he was too late. The 21-year-old's body was reportedly found miles away dumped by the roadside and a massive police search was already underway for them.
The crowd present in the public gallery on Monday cheered after the judge made the ruling. Judge Rosheni Allie reportedly told the court that none of the men showed "true remorse" at the hearing. The judge also condemned the accused for "violating Hannah's 'privacy, dignity and humanity." She added that the 21-year-old was the preyed on in the "crudest and cruellest form of violence" and that the act appeared "vengeful."