How a cold drink bottle could provide crucial evidence in the Hannah Cornelius case

22 October 2018 - 16:43 By Philani Nombembe
DNA expert Warrant Officer Blanche Stubbs said she found one of the accused's DNA on the opening of a 2 litre bottle of Twizzer cold drink.
DNA expert Warrant Officer Blanche Stubbs said she found one of the accused's DNA on the opening of a 2 litre bottle of Twizzer cold drink.
Image: Supplied

The top of a cold drink bottle could spill crucial evidence in the murder trial of Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius.

DNA expert Warrant Officer Blanche Stubbs took to the stand at the high court in Cape Town on Monday‚ where three men - Vernon Witbooi‚ Geraldo Parsons‚ Eben van Niekerk - are facing robbery‚ hijacking‚ kidnapping‚ attempted murder and murder charges. A fourth suspect‚ Nashville Julius‚ is charged with robbery and kidnapping.

Cornelius and her friend Cheslin Marsh were hijacked in Stellenbosch in May last year. Cornelius had offered Marsh‚ a fellow student‚ a lift to his university residence in the early hours of the morning‚ when the accused men allegedly pounced upon them.

Video footage allegedly shows the man attacking the students. Cornelius’ body was found four hours later‚ while Marsh was left for dead in a field in Kraaifontein after a severe beating.

During her testimony‚ Stubbs said she found Witbooi’s DNA on the opening of a 2 litre bottle of Twizzer cold drink. Witbooi’s DNA was also found on the left side door of the hijacked car.

Parson’s DNA was found on a condom‚ which also contained Cornelius’ DNA. Stubbs said she found Cornelius’ DNA on a knife‚ and that it was mixed with that of unidentified people.

The trial continues.

The murder of 21-year-old Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius’ shocked South Africa. By using newly released CCTV footage of the alleged perpetrators, along with confessions of the accused and witness testimonies, we are able to map out the most likely sequence of events that led to her death and the arrest of the suspects after a high-speed car chase through Stellenbosch.


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