Fourth suspect arrested for Stellies student’s murder

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Photo taken from "Hannah Cornelius Remembered" tribute page on Facebook

A 26-year-old Stellenbosch man is the fourth suspect set to appear in court today in connection with the rape and murder of Stellenbosch University (SU) student Hannah Cornelius.

EWN reported that a third suspect, Nashwill Julies, had appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with the murder. He was apprehended on Sunday and is charged with murder, kidnapping and robbery. His case was added to those of the first two accused in the matter, Vernon Witbooi, 32, and Geraldo Parsons, 26. Julies will remain in custody until he joins his co-accused in the dock. The case against them is postponed until Jul 28y.

Hannah Cornelius and a friend, Cheslin Marsh, also a student, were hijacked in Bird Street, Stellenbosch, early on Saturday morning. They had been sitting and chatting in her blue Citi Golf when they were approached by four men in front of a flat block. One of the men opened the door of the car with a screwdriver and forced Cornelius to move to the back seat. Her friend was forced to climb in the boot of the car. The men drove to Kraaifontein where her friend was assaulted with bricks before managing to escape. The hijackers drove off with Cornelius to Knorhoek Road, where she was stabbed, raped and strangled. Her body was found at 08:30 on Saturday morning.

As the university and students deal with the shock of the murder, student newspaper Die Matie reported that more than 3 000 women on the SU campus are now connected on emergency WhatsApp groups. A friend of the late Hannah Cornelius, Jenna Beebee, created a WhatsApp group for women who might need help in an emergency situation.

The rapid growth of the first group, GIRLS (ICE), lead to 13 duplicates of the group being created by the time of the Die Matie report. Beebee encouraged girls to send a message on the group if they feel unsafe or notice they’re being followed. Images with emergency contact details, links to self-defense pages and advice on pepper spray is also shared on these groups. Beebee told Die Matie that women on the groups “can fight hatred, evil and horrific acts of violence in numbers and try our best to be there for one another”.