Another senseless death: A young woman's life has been viciously ended by a gang of men.

Trigger warning: This article contains information about sexual assault and violence which may be triggering to some readers.

University student Hannah Cornelius, 21, was sitting in her car with a male friend, Cheslin Marsh, in the early hours of Friday morning when they were allegedly attacked by four men.

According to The South African, Cheslin was thrown into the boot of the car – a blue Volkswagen Golf – while Hannah was forced into the back seat.

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Hannah Cornelius was just 21 years old when she was raped, stabbed and murdered. Image via Facebook.

They were then driven 17km to Kraaifontein, a suburb in Cape Town.

It was there, Cheslin said, he was pelted by bricks before he managed to escape over a brick wall.

He then knocked on the back door of the home owned by Averal Fortuin and his wife Margaret.

Speaking to News 24, Averal said Cheslin was "barefoot and covered in blood".

The man suffered head injuries and a broken arm in the attack, and is covering in a Cape Town hospital.

After Marsh's escape, it's believed Hannah was driven to another location.

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Hannah's friend was locked in the boot of the car before he managed to escape and alert nearby residents. Image via Facebook.

It was there she was raped, stabbed and strangled to death. Her body was found on a road just outside of the town.

Two suspects - 32-year-old Vernon Witbooi and Geraldo Parens, 26 - were arrested after a police chase. Hannah's stolen car had been used to conduct a robbery in another town.

A third man was arrested the same day, with another man apprehended on Monday.

They face charges of rape, murder, attempted murder and hijacking.

Hannah's heartbroken friends and family have paid tribute to the promising student on social media.


"Han was always smiling. Don't be bitter. Don't be angry," friend Jacqueline Catterson wrote on Facebook.

"It's not going to bring her back or honour her memory because Hannah was so much more than just a tragic story.

"Hannah was such a beautiful soul. Her life was not a loss, but rather a gift. I was lucky enough to get almost 8 years with her.

"Han, it was such a privilege to have you as a best friend. I'll love you forever. Can't wait for the day when I get to hug you again in heaven."

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Hannah Cornelius and her friend, Jacqueline Catterson. Image via Facebook.

Professor Wim de Villiers, of the University of Stellenbosch where Hannah was studying, said the community was "shocked" by her "senseless" death.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the student who lost her life, as well as the student who was injured," he said.