Four men go on trial for murder and rape of Hannah Cornelius

09 October 2018 - 16:25 By Aron Hyman
The men accused of murdering and raping Hannah Cornelius‚ from left‚ Vernon Witbooi‚ Geraldo Parsons‚ Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius‚ in the dock at the high court in Cape Town on October 9‚ 2018.
The men accused of murdering and raping Hannah Cornelius‚ from left‚ Vernon Witbooi‚ Geraldo Parsons‚ Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius‚ in the dock at the high court in Cape Town on October 9‚ 2018.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

The four men accused of murdering and raping 20-year-old Hannah Cornelius in May last year appeared in the high court in Cape Town on Tuesday for the start of their trial.

Vernon Witbooi‚ Geraldo Parsons‚ Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julies‚ who have pleaded not guilty‚ sat for hours as their legal representatives read lengthy admissions into the record.

They acknowledged that DNA samples were taken from them shortly after Cornelius’s body was found in Knorhoek Road‚ 8km outside Stellenbosch‚ on May 27.

The Stellenbosch University student was sitting in a car she inherited from her grandmother‚ with her friend‚ Cheslin Marsh‚ in a parking lot when they were approached by three men.

They were hijacked‚ and while Marsh was forced into the boot of the car Cornelius was forced into the back seat between her hijackers.

They were then driven to Kraaifontein where it is alleged the suspects bought drugs and attempted to kill Marsh by stoning and stabbing him.

The state alleges that they left him for dead and drove away with Cornelius still in the car.

Cornelius was then beaten‚ and according to the post-mortem report she died from blunt force trauma to her head and stab wounds.

The case was postponed until Wednesday‚ when Marsh is expected to testify as the first witness on the list.

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