Lawyers for Hannah Cornelius’ killers could barely find a single mitigating reason to convince the Cape Town High Court to mete out lenient sentences on Thursday.
The lawyers could only ask the court to consider the men’s youthfulness, being pressured into join gangs and their lack of education when handing down sentence.
The defence counsel said drug use could also have impelled the men to go on an orgy of crime in Stellenbosch in May last year.
On Wednesday, the high court convicted Vernon Witbooi, Geraldo Parsons and Eben van Niekerk of robbing, kidnapping, raping and murdering Cornelius, a Stellenbosch student.
They were also found guilty of the attempted murder of her friend, Cheslin Marsh, and of robbing and kidnapping Miemie October and Ncumisa Qwina.
Nashville Julius, the fourth accused, was found guilty of robbery and kidnapping Marsh and Cornelius.