South Africans Get Lifelong Sentence for Murdering Hannah Cornelius

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The After Party

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In May 2017, 21 year old Hannah Cornelius was driving her and her friend Cheslin Marsh home from a party they had attended in Stellenbosch. Hannah drove the two them home and pulled up in front of Cheslin Marsh’s apartment and parked. Out of nowhere, four black men suddenly appeared before them.

Forced Into The Trunk

One of the gang members held a screwdriver against Hannah’s chest through the open driver side window of the car, while another member held a knife against Cheslin’s back through the passenger side window and said, “sit still or die.” The assailants then took their money and cell phones.

Next, the two college students were dragged out of their car and forced to crawl into the trunk. As the two laid side by side together still alive, locked in the trunk and unharmed as of yet, their attackers got into the vehicle and then headed off to get drugs.

Brutally Assaulted

After hijacking Cornelius and her friend Cheslin Marsh in Stellenbosch, Cornelius’ would be rapists and killers allegedly drove to their drug dealers house in Kraaifontein, in her blue Citi Golf. During this drive, it is believed that both victims were still alive inside the trunk of the vehicle. The perpetrators were on a mission to obtain crystal meth. Addiction was not mentioned.

Attackers High on Crystal Meth

The four men proceeded to get high using crystal meth outside of the stolen vehicle, at the drug dealers home while Hannah and Cheslin were still locked in the trunk together.

October 2018, the trial against the murderers and rapists began. 

Cheslin was then dragged out of the car and put in the bushes near the dealer’s house. The attackers laid his head on a rock, then hit bricks against his skull until they thought he was dead. At some point during this attack, as Cheslin was unconscious, he was brutally raped by three of the attackers. Cheslin became conscious a few hours later and stumbled up to a nearby house to get help.

By this time, Hannah had already been dragged into some bushes near a vineyard not far from the drug dealers house and raped by three of the criminals. Her head was found to have been smashed in also, but this time by a large stone. Hannah’s neck was stabbed multiple times, she had been left by the vineyard to die.

The Trial Begins

October 2018, the trial against the murderers and rapists began. During the trial, Marsh testified before the court and repeatedly broke into tears. He is now deaf in one ear due to the critical injuries he sustained from the brutal beatings and assault. The court described the crimes as “cruel, vindictive and depraved.” Their punishments were met with cheers by the many people that were present in court during the trial. Three of them were found guilty of more than ten charges of kidnapping, robbery, rape and murder. Vernon Witbooi 33, Geraldo Parsons 27, and Eben van Niekerk 28 were found guilty on all 10 counts against them and also received sentences exceeding 100 years each, on four counts of robbery with extenuating circumstances, three counts of kidnapping and the attempted murder of Cheslin Marsh. The fourth suspect, Nashville Julius, received 22 years direct imprisonment for robbery and kidnapping.

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Since the fall of the Apartheid regime and takeover of the ANC in 1994, hundreds of white South Africans are victims of plaza attacks each year. Whites in South Africa are commonly referred to as “Afrikaners.” There is also a white subgroup within the same region that are known as “Farmers.” Both of these white groups have been victims to violent robbery, locally known as “Plaasmoorde.” Almost a hundred victims die each year as a direct result of these violent attacks.

The number of farmers murdered between 1994 and 2007 astonishingly total 1,437 according to South African police statistics. After 2007, official statistics were no longer released to the public due to attention from the local African Human Rights Organizations. An unofficial number tabulated was based on figures from the Farmers Union, called “Transvaal Landbou-Unie.” Last year alone, they say more than 70 white Farmers were killed in hundreds of robberies. In each case there is a similarity of rape and serious abuse. All of the attacks have the theme of vicious violence.

According to Africa Check Online, they report that “In a 2017, debate in South Africa’s parliament, the attacks were described as not normal criminality, crimes fueled by hatred and extremely violent, often accompanied by brutal torturing in the most barbaric way.”

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