Men who raped and killed student Hannah Cornelius were jailed for good

Junie Sihlangu
Nov 12, 2018
12:24 P.M.
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The men who gang-raped and murdered South African student Hannah Cornelius have just been served justice for their crimes. They were sent to prison for life.


The men were also sentenced for kidnapping Cornelius’ friend Cheslin Marsh and Mimi October. The sentencing was handed down on Monday.

Geraldo Parsons, 27, Vernon Witbooi, 33, and Eben van Niekerk, 28, were all found guilty of Hannah Cornelius’ rape and murder. They were also sentenced for kidnapping, robbery, and the attempted murder of her friend Cheslin Marsh, 22.

The three men were handed their sentence at Western Cape High Court. Witbooi and Parsons were also both handed 25 years for attempted murder, 15 years each for 4 counts of robbery and 10 years for kidnapping.   


For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. Van Niekerk was sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder, 20 years for robbery, 10 years for kidnapping Cornelius, 21, and Marsh and 8 years for kidnapping Mimi October.

A fourth accomplice, Nashville Julius, 29, was also sentenced to 15 years for two counts of robbery and 7 years for kidnapping. Judge Rosheni Allie determined that his sentence would run concurrently.


Allie shared with the court that none of the men had shown “true remorse” for their crimes at the hearing. Those in the public gallery cheered loudly when the sentencing occurred.  

A great number of the people in the public gallery were from organizations that were set up after the continued violent deaths of women and children in Cape Town. Last year in May, Cornelius was raped repeatedly and then killed after she and her Marsh were carjacked in Stellenbosch after a night out with friends.


Marsh was beaten with bricks and left for dead by the attackers. He survived the assault; however, he is now deaf in one ear.


On Monday, he attended the hearing shortly after being fitted with a new hearing aid. His mother Marilyn shared that “He heard everything the judge said. Clearly.”


Speaking after the sentencing, Marsh said:

“I'm just relieved that justice has been served. I can't describe how I feel – I am just happy.”

Cornelius’ Citi Golf was used in two armed robberies before Witbooi and Parsons were apprehended after a high-speed chase. Last week, Cornelius’ father Willem asked the judge to impose a sentence on the accused "which will at the very least prevent other parents from going through what we have gone through."

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