Killer rapists laughed over their vic­tim

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - BRAD HUNTER bhunter@post­

The killers laughed as if what they had done was noth­ing.

A cheap floozy, dead for a bit of drugged out fun.

That Han­nah Cor­nelius most cer­tainly was not.

She touched ev­ery­one who ever met her.

But in South Africa, life is ap­par­ently ap­pallingly cheap.

The de­tails of the 21-yearold’s sick­en­ing death have forced the trou­bled coun­try to take a long, hard look in the mir­ror.

It was fate that put the pretty blond in the morgue in the most heinous way imag­in­able.

Han­nah was drop­ping off a pal at around 3:40 a.m. af­ter a night out in Cape

Town in May of 2017.

That’s when her blue Volk­swa­gen Golf — a birth­day gift from her grand­mother — was car­jacked by four burly men.

Her male friend was stuffed in the trunk of the car.

Watch­ing the car on CCTV, we all know the heart­break­ing end­ing to the tale.

The two ter­ri­fied stu­dents were taken to a re­mote area out­side the South African city where her male friend was robbed and nearly beaten to death with a rock.

Ger­aldo Par­sons, 27, Ver­non Wit­booi, 33, Eben van Niek­erk, 28, and Nash­ville Julius, 29. They had rape on their minds.

Han­nah begged the men not to kill her af­ter they “have sex with her,” cops later said. That plea for mercy did not mat­ter.

Take Par­sons. He was a real prince.

He had plas­tic pearls em­bed­ded in his pe­nis. It would make the rape of Han­nah sig­nif­i­cantly more painful.

“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 sob­bing Par­sons later said.

Par­sons was first in line to rape the ter­ri­fied Han­nah. Wit­booi and van Niek­erk then joined in. Julius opted out.

And he added, you know, this ter­ri­ble thing “didn’t feel right.”

Be­cause, you know, he had a wife and child at home.

Wired out of their minds on crys­tal meth, the men then bashed Han­nah’s head in with a rock. The only mercy be­ing that a pathol­o­gist said she would have been dead in­stantly.

Han­nah’s death touched the whole na­tion. She be­came ev­ery­one’s daugh­ter.

For her mother and fa­ther, it was too much to bear.

Han­nah’s dad, Willem Cor­nelius, tes­ti­fied how months af­ter the tragedy the dead woman’s heart­bro­ken mother walked into the stormy and frigid At­lantic Ocean and “didn’t re­turn.”

Anna Cor­nelius “be­came a shadow of her­self.”

“My fam­ily died with Han­nah,” her fa­ther sadly said, call­ing his late wife “the strong­est and most com­pe­tent per­son

I have ever met.”

“I do not be­lieve that she com­mit­ted sui­cide... but what I do be­lieve is that she did not have the phys­i­cal or men­tal strength left to counter any dif­fi­cul­ties that she may have ex­pe­ri­enced,” he said.

A vet­eran judge, Willem Cor­nelius is fin­ished, cer­tain he could no longer be im­par­tial. He is for­ever com­pro­mised.

Nor could he lis­ten to tes­ti­mony about the sex­ual de­file­ment of Han­nah.

“I couldn’t bear to hear what they did to my daugh­ter,” he told re­porters.

Last week, three of the men — Par­sons, Wit­booi and Niek­erk — were found guilty of rape and mur­der, along with the kid­nap­ping, rob­bery and at­tempted mur­der of Han­nah’s friend.

Julius was found guilty of kid­nap­ping and rob­bery.

They will all surely spend the rest of their lives in prison.

But what about Han­nah? Willem Cor­nelius’ tes­ti­mony is worth reprint­ing at length.

Tes­ti­mony to a “re­mark­able young woman.”

“Both me and her mother were im­mensely proud of rais­ing a child for the new South Africa, a child with­out the bag­gage of our gen­er­a­tions, with lit­tle in­ter­est in money or ma­te­rial things, with no prej­u­dice re­gard­ing race, re­li­gion or so­cial stand­ing. A re­mark­able child on the cusp of grow­ing into a re­mark­able young woman.” As for his autis­tic son? “Ev­ery night, he stops in front of a framed pho­to­graph of Han­nah and asks, ‘When are her hol­i­days over? When is she com­ing home?’”


Ver­non Wit­booi, left, Ger­aldo Par­sons, Eben van Niek­erk and Nash­ville Julius in court.


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