Some Lesser Known Facts About Hannah Cornelius
- Hannah was born in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
- She was a 21-year old student at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
- On 27 May 2017, she was sitting in her Blue City Golf car (gifted by her grandmother) along with her male friend Cheslin Marsh at around 1 a.m. at Bird Street. Suddenly, 4 men approached them and attempted to carjack them. The men entered the car and threw Marsh into the trunk of the vehicle while Hannah was forced to sit in the back seat. The men stole their belongings and transported them to an undisclosed location where they allegedly beat them with bricks; Hannah was allegedly raped, stabbed and strangled to death. Somehow, Marsh was able to flee, while Hannah was left for dead. Here’s the CCTV footage, recorded on the night of the horrific incident:
- Hannah’s body was found close to a farm in Stellenbosch.
- Marsh was helped by a couple (Averal and Margaret Fortuin) from Bernardino Heights. Unsure of what was going on, Margaret Fortuin told Marsh to leave, but Marsh pleaded for assistance, saying that “they were going to kill him.” Responding to reporters, the couple said- “We thought it was another intruder because we’re used to guys walking up down (our street) and being in gang fights, we didn’t know what the story was and if this was just a fight between drunken people. Our immediate reaction was to tell him to jump back over the wall and leave. We wanted him to go (away). But he kept stating that he couldn’t leave because ‘they’ were going to kill him. He asked if he couldn’t just tell his story and whether he could phone his mother. He was speaking in quick succession.”
- Police arrested 3 of the suspects on 28 May 2017 and the 4th suspect on 29 May 2017. Watch the video of the suspects running away from authorities below-
- Hannah’s uncle Dries Cornelius said her parents were “devastated”. Dries Cornelius further said- “Hannah’s 18-year-old brother cannot comprehend what had happened to his sister because he has severe autism.”
- Her uncle Dries Cornelius also said to the reporters that “Hannah’s family is agonizing over why she had to die. “Why? What is the reason behind killing her if you already have the car? I mean if they took the friend and seemingly also tried to kill him… it seems they just wanted to kill.”
- Hannah was an ”exceptional pianist” and excelled academically at high school.
- David Clark (Reddam House Principal) said- “Hannah matriculated with 6 distinctions and had attained an average of above 85%.
- In addition to her studying at the school, Hannah spent time volunteering with a local cause, namely “TEARS Animal Rescue.”
- Hannah Cornelius was also an exceptional drama student.
- After Hannah’s murder, students were left shaken and filled with fear.
- On 30 May 2017, many students gathered outside of the Court House carrying placards imploring the school to up its security to prevent incidents like Hannah’s murder.
- Tragically, her mother, Anna (56), drowned to death after 10 months of Hannah’s murder.
- Later, the culprits were identified as Vernon Witbooi (33), Geraldo Parsons (27), Nashville Julius (29), and Eben Van Nieberk (28); who were charged for murder, kidnap, robbery, and rape.
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