Smirking killers give thumbs up as they’re convicted of gang-raping student Hannah Cornelius, 21, and smashing her skull with rock

The 21-year-old last year was carjacked by four men while dropping off fellow student at his home, who they also attacked, in Stellenbosch, west of Cape Town, after a night out.

Geraldo Parsons, 27, Vernon Witbooi, 33, and Eben van Niekerk, 28, have today been found guilty of the Hannah’s rape and murder in May 2017.

They have also been convicted of the kidnap, robbery and attempted murder of Cheslin Marsh.

Parsons can be seen smirking and Witbooi is then seen walking out of the room while giving a thumbs up to the camera.


A fourth man, Nashville Julius, 29, was found guilty of kidnapping and robbing Hannah and Cheslin,  News 24 reports.

The men robbed and assaulted Cheslin and left him for dead, before brutally raping the student stabbing her in the neck and crushing her skull with a rock.

The trial heard Hannah had parked her blue VW Golf – a gift from her grandmother – outside his flat but as they parked a gang of four men attacked them, opening both doors.

In grainy footage, Cornelius' blue Volkswagen Golf was spotted driving from his block of flats at 3.40am.


The car then appears on another CCTV camera at a petrol station an hour later.

A female figure seen in the front seat is believed to be Ms Cornelius in the last moments she was seen alive.

During trial it was reported Parsons had plastic pearls embedded in his penis, likely making the rape more painful.

Parsons testified that as the group drove a terrified Hannah to an unknown spot she begged the men not to kill her after they “have sex with her”, according to Times Live.



“While I was driving‚ Vernon gave me a condom‚ I don’t know where he got it from. Vernon said Hannah said we can have sex with her but then we must leave her after that,” a weeping Parsons told the court.

He claimed he was the first to rape Ms Cornelius, before Witbooi and van Niekerk, but “it didn’t feel right” because he had a wife and child.

During the trial Cheslin Marsh broke down in tears as he told how he was bundled into the boot during the attack,.

Hannah was wedged between two of the four men in the VW Golf.

When they reopened the boot Hannah allegedly refused to get out, clinging on to the car.

Parsons told the court Van Nieberk stabbed her and then Witbooi threw a rock on her head.#

The six stone boulder had been used to cover a borehole and was slammed down on her head twice as she was held down.

They then drove out of the upmarket wine producing town of Stellenbosch and hauled Marsh into the bushes, the judge was told.

Three men allegedly made him lay his head on a rock on the ground and battered his skull with bricks until they thought he was dead.

When Marsh woke up, suffering severe head injuries and a broken arm, he staggered to a nearby home to raise the alarm about Hannah.

Unknown to him her body had been found earlier several miles away by workers and a huge police search was already underway for him.

Previously, a workman described to a court heard how he initially thought the badly beaten body of Hannah was a "doll".

Giving evidence, pathologist Deidre Abrahams said she would have died "instantly" from the force of being hit twice on the head.

Three of the four accused, Witbooi, Julius and Van Nieberk, admit that they were present but claimed they only robbed the pair and did not commit the rape or murder.

The gang, then high on drugs, allegedly went on a robbery spree in the hijacked car robbing at least three women before the stolen motor was spotted and a high speed police chase began.

Three were arrested after dumping the car and fleeing and the fourth was arrested later.

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