The three men who abducted, raped and murdered 21-year-old Hannah Cornelius in Stellenbosch last year have been sentenced to life behind bars.
Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons and Eben van Niekerk were ruled to have kidnapped, robbed, raped and murdered Cornelius in May 2017 after finding her in her Citi Golf in the early hours of the morning with a friend, Cheslin Marsh.
The group was also found guilty in the Western Cape High Court of attempted murder on Marsh, who was left for dead after being badly assaulted with a brick.
The fourth accused, Nashville Julius, was found guilty only of the robbery and kidnapping, as he left the group before the remaining men proceeded to a bush and took turns to rape Cornelius. They eventually killed her on a farm by stabbing her twice in the neck and dropping a heavy rock on her head and body.
Another suspect, known only as “Kaffertjie”, is believed to have participated in the rape and murder but was not arrested.
Witbooi and Parsons received life for the murder and life for the rape, with 25 years each for the attempted murder, as well as 15 years on four counts of robbery and 10 years for kidnapping (including the kidnapping of another victim, Mimi October).
Van Niekerk received life for rape and murder, and 20 years for each robbery, 10 years for kidnapping Marsh and Cornelius, and eight years for kidnapping October. He received 20 years for Marsh’s attempted murder.
Julius was handed 15 years for two robberies and seven for the kidnappings.
The judge found that none of the accused had shown true remorse.
Parsons garnered the most media attention of the four after being the only accused who admitted to guilt on all charges while in the witness box, despite having pleaded not guilty. The others chose not to testify.
(Edited by Charles Cilliers)