‘‘I have nothing left to live for,’’ heartbroken Jean de Villiers says on the verge of tears. ‘‘A big part of me died with them.’’
He’s talking of his daughters, Ingrid (14) and Gisela (13), who were shot dead in their beds by their mother, Michelle (41), a few days before Easter. Michelle then lay between them and shot herself, dying in hospital a few hours later.
‘‘We were the three musketeers; I loved spoiling them,’’ says 49-year-old Jean, who was divorced from Michelle five years ago. ‘‘I can’t believe we’ll never play squash again, go to a concert or have a braai together.’’
The triple tragedy shocked the peaceful community of De Doorns in the foothills of the Matroosberg, especially as people in the small Hex River Valley community hadn’t seen it coming.
On the surface Michelle appeared to be a successful woman with two lovely, talented daughters who did well at school.
She seemed to have done well with a sportswear range she had designed and was receiving orders. But unknown to friends she battled with financial and emotional disappointments.
She insisted no one could look after her kids as well as she could. ‘‘She wanted to go to God,’’ a friend says, ‘‘but not without her children.’’
On Jean’s last weekend with the girls they played squash, ate out and just hung out. ‘‘My children were stylish, elegant and unique,’’ he says proudly through his grief. ‘‘Ingrid was my little lady, Gisela my tomboy. I always tried my best to see them, even if I popped in for only five minutes. They were my two princesses. They had such a bright future.
‘‘Their mom was devoted to them and gave them a balanced upbringing. Michelle and I had recently become pals again and I never suspected she was so desperate.’’
Michelle was creative and full of initiative, a friend says. She had hoped her sportswear would bring in money from February – there had been large orders but she couldn’t find a factory to deliver on time.
Read the full article in the 15 April issue of YOU