Doccie revisits grim murder of Hannah Cornelius [watch]


The 2017 “ride from hell” endured by University Stellenbosch student Hannah Cornelius – which led to her gruesome death at the hands of a violent gang – has been turned into a Showmax documentary called Last Blue Ride.

The 20-year-old student was raped repeatedly by four members of a notorious “Numbers” gang. This, after the BA Humanities student was kidnapped alongside friend Cheslin Marsh. The pair had been sitting together in her blue City Golf car, near the university.

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In the early hours of 27 May 2017, Hannah Cornelius drove her blue Citi Golf – which she inherited from her grandmother – to drop off friend Cheslin Marsh at his nearby residence.

The students had been earlier joined by a group of their college friends after a night out.

Moments later, Hannah and Cheslin were ambushed by four men; Venon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons, Eben Van Niekerk and Nashville Julius.

The men – part of notorious “Numbers” gang, and under the influence of drugs – would then take the terrified friends on a ride of sheer terror. The men made numerous stops along the way, including one in Kraaifontein.

After giving the men the wrong pin to his ATM card, Cheslin was hit with heavy rocks on his head. Cheslin was left for dead in an open veld, but miraculously survived. He later told the court that he had dropped out of university due to trauma. He also revealed he had permanently lost hearing in one of his ears due to the attack.

The men kept Hannah Cornelius in the car, which they drove to a secluded spot to repeatedly rape her. Hours later, they would stab her in the neck and drop a boulder on her head. Hannah’s lifeless body was discovered on a wine farm near Stellenbosch.

According to SABC, Witbooi, Parsons and Niekerk all received a life sentence for the rape of Hannah Cornelius and another life sentence for her murder. The fourth accused: Julius, who was found guilty of kidnapping and armed robbery, received a 22 year sentence.

Tragically, a year after her death, Hannah Cornelius’ mother Anna would die in a reported drowning. During the murder court case Hannah’s father Hanlie testified that Anna “walked into the ocean and never returned”.


Last Blue Ride was directed and produced  by multimedia journalist Anthony Molyneaux who covered the Hannah Cornelius story.

He said of the experience to TimesLive: “I have covered dozens of brutal crimes and their court cases, but the murder of Cornelius affected me the most”.

Explaining why he revisited the story, Molyneaux revealed: “I wanted to spend more time documenting her life and the crime that destroyed her family”.

The documentary sees emotional interviews with her family and friends as well as journalists and a criminologist. Last Blue Ride also features court footage from the trial and the use of drone that is used to retell the sequence of events from that fateful morning.

Molyneaux also tackled existence of the “Numbers” gang and the high rate of re-offense by convicted criminals. He also delved deeper into the rehabilitation processes.

He added: “Although the documentary revisits the crime in often painful detail, I believe it succeeds in honouring Cornelius’s life and those she left behind”. 

Last Blue Ride releases on Friday, 1 April on Showmax.


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