Double murder shocks community

  • HilaryandWilliamGiesing
Nothing could have prepared Johannesburg fitness trainer Lisa Gekis for the phone call she received early last Wednesday morning from her brother in London informing her that their parents had been brutally murdered in their home.
by NICOLA MILTZ | Jul 02, 2020

The bodies of much-loved garden landscaper William Giessing, 81, and his wife of 58 years, Hilary, 78, were discovered early on 24 June, in their Nursery Road, The Gardens, Johannesburg home. They had been killed in cold blood. The news sent shock waves of fear through the community.

A frantic, Gary Giessing, whose name and number appeared first on the couple’s list of numbers to dial in case of an emergency, received the dreaded call from CAP Security, a call that is everyone’s worst nightmare come true. He then broke the news to his sister in Johannesburg.

“I felt like I had been punched in the face,” said Gekis, saying that it’s a moment she doesn’t “want to relive.” The minutes and hours that followed were a blur, she said.

Gekis is struggling to make sense of this heinous crime which has shattered her family’s life.

The gruesome discovery was made during a routine patrol of the area, when security officers of a CAP tactical unit became suspicious after seeing the gate to the couple’s home left open. Their fears were realised following the discovery of the couple’s lifeless bodies inside.

Police this week arrested four men in connection with the killings.

Following round-the-clock investigations, members of the Provincial Investigating Unit of the South African Police Service (SAPS) traced and apprehended the suspects in Alexandra.

Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, Gauteng provincial head of corporate communication and liaison of the SAPS, told the SA Jewish Report that the four suspects had appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 30 June, on charges of murder, house robbery, and possession of suspected stolen property.

“This follows an incident on 24 June, 2020, where an elderly couple was found murdered in their house. The house had allegedly been ransacked and the couple’s Chevrolet Sonic stolen,” Peters said.

Meanwhile, the arrests are cold comfort for the heartbroken family still reeling from the heinous and savage attack on the unsuspecting couple, described by family and friends as “doting, loving, and kind”.

“Why would anyone do this, and how can people be so cruel?” asked Gekis.

News of the murders rippled through the community, reaching loved ones far and wide, coupled with speculation and rumour as to the motive.

Gekis asked that people let the investigation run its course before making any assumptions.

“We honestly do not know why this happened. We have no answers, and police are still investigating. I wish I knew. It would help me in some way,” she said.

A tearful Gekis said her life would never be the same. She described her parents as “loving and inseparable”.

William and Hilary were young sweethearts when they met in their early twenties at Emmarentia Dam.

“They lived the purest life. They did everything together from banking to shopping. They were devoted to each other, and to their children and grandchildren,” she said.

The artistic and nature-loving William was a well-known hairdresser for many years before taking up his passion for garden landscaping starting his own business, Gaia Landscape Creations.

“My parents were like chalk and cheese,” said Gekis with affection.

“My dad was a vegan and loved to meditate and do yoga. He was so kind, he wouldn’t hurt an insect, and would always carry it outside. He was more of an angel than a human. He would be standing on his head doing yoga, and my mom would walk past and pull up his trousers.”

She said her mom loved to cook, and would do anything for her children and nine grandchildren. “She was hilariously funny, and she loved her dogs with all her heart.”

The couple’s two Shih Tzus, Blue and Jude, were thankfully found unharmed albeit hungry and thirsty. It’s understood that the incident happened on Monday night.

“My mom loved her dogs. They were like children – they wore little jerseys, slept on their bed, and were given chicken soup. Once my parents were going to a movie but decided to stay home because the dogs looked sad that they were leaving. That’s the kind of people they were – homebound, loving, caring parents who never left us alone as children,” she said.

In a Facebook post following the funeral she said, “Today I bury both my parents. We have had our hearts and souls ripped from us. Death is something we all face and can get through, being the natural cycle of life. The brutality of this has left us broken. These two people gave me life. Not any life, a life filled with love, support, nurture, care, I can go on and on. More than anything, these two people taught me how to be humble, empathetic, compassionate. My dad couldn’t kill an ant. My mom, the lioness, would do anything for us.”

The investigation was escalated to the Provincial Investigating Unit, which traced and apprehended the suspects, said Peters.

Sean Jammy, chief operating officer of CAP Security, said, “CAP is working extremely closely with the SAPS investigation team who are of the highest standard and are hopeful that justice will prevail on this case. Due to the sensitivity and stage of the investigation, we aren’t able to comment further. No stone will be left unturned in finding those responsible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

Expressing its gratitude for the love and support from friends, family, and the community, the family says it wants answers.

“I can’t focus on their last moments. I have to believe they are with my late brother Steven in heaven, all of them together at peace. If I focus on what happened to them, I’ll be a basket case. We need answers, of course, for closure, and to know why this happened.

“I’m fortunate to be surrounded by the most amazing community, my husband, children, and friends. Assistance from [Jewish rescue and recovery unit] Zaka, the Community Security Organisation, CAP Security, and the police has been overwhelming.”

The couple’s vehicle is yet to be found.


  1. 4 Joe Israeli 04 Jul
    Heartfelt sympathy to Lisa and charles
  2. 3 steve marks 05 Jul
    just devastating
  3. 2 Sharon Snowden 07 Jul
    My condolences to this couple's family.  I trust the Jewsih community will stand with white farmers to preserve the food supply in this country.  As we will always stand with the Jewsih Nation where they needs us within SA and elsewhere. 
    Take Care 
    This is dreadful news. My condolences to the family. I wish you Long Life    
    Marcelle Rogers
    London, UK 


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