DNA of #HannahCornelius ‘killers’ found in used condoms at crime scene

DNA of #HannahCornelius ‘killers’ found in used condoms at crime scene

DNA of #HannahCornelius 'killers' found in used condoms at crime scene
DNA of #HannahCornelius ‘killers’ found in used condoms at crime scene
Cape Town – DNA found in used condoms at the scene where Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius’s body was discovered matched the profile of two accused in the murder trial, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.
DNA analyst Blanche Stubbs confirmed in her report that both Vernon Witbooi and Geraldo Parsons had matches, but no semen was detected.

Stubbs said DNA from skin cells found on the inside of a condom matched Witbooi’s DNA profile.

She said DNA from the shaft of Parsons’ penis matched with a swab taken from Cornelius.

“DNA from the deceased was found on the scrotum of Parsons as well as on the outside and inside of another condom. Parsons’ DNA was also found on the handle of the knife,” said Stubbs.

Stubbs said a mixture of DNA was found on the same condom that had Parsons’ DNA. She said she only compared the DNA with reference samples, and of the samples she had, only Parsons’ matched.

This meant another, hitherto unknown, suspect could have been linked to the incident.

Stellenbosch University student Cornelius, 21, and fellow student Cheslin Marsh were hijacked and kidnapped in her parked car at the corner of Bird and Jan Cilliers streets in Stellenbosch on May 27 last year.

Cornelius was found dead on the side of Knorhoek Road, while Marsh was assaulted and dumped in bushes in Kraaifontein.

She had been raped.

Cornelius’s Citi Golf vehicle was later believed to have been used in an armed robbery in Northpine, between Brackenfell and Kraaifontein.

Witbooi and Parsons were arrested within 12 hours of the hijacking after a chase by police on Bottelary Road.

Stubbs said Eben van Niekerk and Nashville Julius, co-accused in the trial, didn’t match the DNA profiles of the condoms found at the scene.

Marsh, a friend of Cornelius who was among the last people to see her alive, also did not match any of the profiles.

A cellphone record analyst from the police service, Anna-Marie van Niekerk, told the court Cornelius had her Huawei cellphone for only a month before it was “robbed off her”.

Van Niekerk said Cornelius’s number was last used in the early morning of May 28, 2017. She said a new SIM card was inserted in the device a few hours later. That SIM card was active till June 13, 2017.

All four accused in the trial have pleaded not guilty to a series of charges they face, including murder, attempted murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery with aggravating circumstance.

Witbooi, who made a confession, denied raping Cornelius. Instead he pinned the crime on his co-accused, Parsons. He said he was smoking in the hijacked vehicle the whole time.

According to Witbooi, Parsons bragged to him about raping Cornelius.

The trial continues today.

@Zoey_Dano