A 21 years old student in South Africa was raped, stabbed and strangled to death after being abducted in a violent carjacking. Hannah Cornelius was killed in Stellenbosch, South Africa, after she and her male friend, Cheslin Marsh, who survived the attack, were carjacked by four men last Friday night. Police chased down two of the suspects who are believed to have taken part in the incident the following day. The men are now facing a series of charges, including here rape and murder.
Cornelius and Marsh were chatting in a blue Volkswagen Citi Golf, which had been given to Cornelius by her 91 years old grandmother, when they were approached by four men. Marsh was thrown into the boot of the vehicle while Cornelius was forced into the back seat. The pair’s belongings were stolen before the university students were taken to an undisclosed location and beaten with bricks. Marsh said police that he only survived by throwing himself over a wall to escape his captors. A witness who found Marsh said he was ‘barefoot and covered in blood, completely disorientated and didn’t know where he was’. Marsh suffered head injuries and a broken arm in the attack and is recovering in hospital. Cornelius’s body was found at 8:30 Am on Saturday on a road about 10km (6 miles) outside Stellenbosch. Police tells she had been stabbed several times before being strangled. Her captors are also accused of raping her. 2 suspects were arrested on Saturday following a high speed chase in the hijacked Golf. The men were seen on CCTV leaping over a ditch to evade authorities before eventually being caught.
2 more male suspects were later arrested. The 2 men seen on CCTV have been identified as Vernon Witbooi 32 years old and Geraldo Parsons 26 years old. All 4 men face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, motor vehicle theft, rape and abduction, and more charges could later be added. Witbooi and Parsons appeared in court on Monday, while the third man is expected to appear in court on Tuesday and the fourth on Wednesday. “I know that last night we arrested a 26 years old man from Cloetesville‚ which is now the fourth arrest that has been made, he will appear in court tomorrow” police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said. Cornelius and Marsh were students at the nearby University of Stellenbosch. Rector Professor Wim de Villiers said The South African that the university community was left shocked after the incident. He told ‘Our campus community is shocked by this senseless death and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the student who lost her life, as well as the student who was injured.’ Cornelius’s family released a statement following news for her death. ‘It is with great shock and sadness that we learnt of the tragic death of our beloved Hannah Cornelius. The family does not have all the facts surrounding her death as yet. They have been advised to await the full report from the relevant authorities so as not to prejudice the investigation. Hannah was studying a degree in humanities at the University of Stellenbosch. At the time of her death, she was 21 years old. The amount of support the family has been receiving is testimony to what an amazing, loving and beautiful person our Hannah was. The family has requested that their privacy be respected in this very difficult time’ the statement from her uncle, Andries Cornelius, said. Her 18 years old brother, who has severe autism, has not been able to comprehend his sister’s death, Andreis Cornelius added. “I assume he will never know. You can tell him what happened but he will never stop asking when she’s coming back” he told. A funeral service for Cornelius, who was a second year humanities student, is being held at Fish Hoek NG Church at 11 Am on Friday. Cornelius is told to have been an ‘exceptional pianist’ and excelled in high school.