Rape and murder of Maties student Hannah Cornelius leaves family devastated

Murdered Stellenbosch University student Hannah Cornelius Image: Facebook
Murdered Stellenbosch University student Hannah Cornelius Image: Facebook

Murdered Stellenbosch University student Hannah Cornelius’s autistic brother “will never stop asking when she’s coming back”.

Her uncle Dries Cornelius said her parents were “devastated”. Their 21-year-old daughter’s body was found on Saturday morning just outside Stellenbosch.

It has emerged that she had also been raped.

The blue golf for which she was allegedly killed belonged to her 91-year-old grandmother. She had given Hannah the vehicle when she became too old to drive.

Dries Cornelius said Hannah’s 18-year-old brother cannot comprehend what had happened to his sister because he has severe autism.

“I assume he will never know about this. You can tell him what happened but he will never stop asking when she’s coming back‚” said Dries.

A service is being held for the second-year BA humanities student at the Fish Hoek NG Church at 11 am on Friday.

Besides being an ‘’exceptional pianist’’ Hannah excelled academically at high school.

Reddam House principal David Clark said she matriculated with six distinctions and had attained an average of above 85%.

“She just made the world a better place‚ she was just one of those outstanding kids and it’s just such a tragedy that what happened‚ happened‚” said Clarke.

“She was an exceptional drama student. She just was a wonderful all round kid.”

“The law must work in full force and the perpetrators must get what’s coming their way.”

Cornelius and a male friend were hijacked in Bird Street in Stellenbosch. While her friend — who was stabbed — managed to escape‚ she was abducted by the attackers.

Two suspects — Geraldo Parsens and Vernon Junald Witbooi — were arrested by police at the weekend and appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of murder‚ attempted murder‚ rape and hijacking.

Dries Cornelius said the family is agonising 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. It’s inexplicable; flippin’ animals. I just hope that they caught the guys who killed her so we don’t wait another 10 years and hope the police find them‚” said Cornelius.

“At this stage we are just trying to process it. We’ll see what happens when the whole family comes together in the Cape‚ at this stage we can just try to cope and get (her grandmother) through this.”


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