21-year-old humanities student kidnapped, raped and murdered by four men who crushed her skull with a rock
Cornelius had pulled up outside her fellow student's flat, 22-year-old Cheslin March who was traveling with her, at midnight when the attackers rushed towards her car and stormed in
A 21-year-old student, Hannah Cornelius, was kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered by four men in South Africa, who were reportedly armed with knives and had caught her off guard by storming into her car, a court heard on Monday.
Reports state that Cornelius had pulled up outside her fellow student's flat, 22-year-old Cheslin March who was traveling with her, at midnight 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 at Marsh's back. They reportedly shouted at Marsh, saying: "Sit still or she dies."
WATCH | Emotional scenes as CCTV of Hannah Cornelius kidnapping shown in court. https://t.co/kGaOBYbHPf— Sunday Times (@SundayTimesZA) October 11, 2018
The revelations were made at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town as the judge heard the allegations against the gang in the incident that took place on May 26, 2017. 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, according to The Sun.
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.
Cheslin Marsh breaks down as he relives the hellish night Hannah Cornelius was raped and bludgeoned to death https://t.co/JhB8Qt3IVJ— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) October 13, 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 young female student was allegedly dragged into bushes at a vineyard and gang-raped by three of the suspects. The court heard that her skull was crushed with large rock and she was also stabbed in the neck.
“The two men were standing with a half-brick in their hands. I then lost consciousness.”— Sowetan LIVE (@SowetanLIVE) October 11, 2018
Daughter of magistrate Willem Cornelius and lawyer wife Anna, Hannah was described as a "brilliant student". Reports state that Anna Cornelius tragically died by drowning nearly 10 months after her daughter. The 21-year-old was a straight-A student, who was in her second year at Stellenbosch University, studying for a BA in Humanities.
Marsh testified in court that he had known Cornelius since February 2017. "Hannah Cornelius was always helpful. She always put others first."
The accused — Vernon Witbooi, 33, Geraldo Parsons, 27, Nashville Julius, 29, and Eben Van Nieberk, 28 — all face a series of charges including murder, kidnapping, robbery, and rape.