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State Demands Maximum Sentence For Hannah Cornelius Killers

The suspects of Hannah Cornelius' rape and murder in court.
The suspects of Hannah Cornelius' rape and murder in court. Image: ANA

The State on Thursday asked for the maximum sentence to be imposed on the three men found guilty of the murder and rape of Stellenbosch University student, Hannah Cornelius.

Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons and Eben van Niekerk were on Wednesday found guilty of kidnapping, robbery, rape and murder in the Western Cape High court.

Accused number four, Nashville Julius was only found guilty on four counts, including kidnapping and robbery.

The four men pounced on Cornelius and her friend Cheslin Marsh and abducted them from the Nouveau Male hostel in Stellenbosch in May 2017.

Cornelius and Marsh had been chatting in the car outside Marsh’s residence when they were overpowered by the four accused who wielded screwdrivers and threatened to kill them if they did not co-operate.

Cornelius was raped and killed and her body was discovered on the morning of May 27, 2017.

State prosecutor, Lenro Badenhorst reminded the court on Thursday that despite the four accused blaming the intake of drugs for their actions that night, many of their other actions were very calculated and “goal-directed”.

“Drugs did not impair their cognitive ability,” said Badenhorst.

He also reminded the court that South Africa can ill afford a situation where “we have armed gangs walking around at night and kidnapping, robbing, raping and murdering innocent people”.

Sentencing has been set down for Monday afternoon at 14:00.

IOL