It was an oddly spontaneous thing for couple Lindy Williams, 56, and George Gerbic, 66, to do, but no one could deny it sounded amazing.
George’s grown-up son from a previous relationship received an email from his dad in September 2013. ‘Lindy and I have decided to go on holiday and won’t be back until February 2014,’ the message read.
‘I will keep in touch via email and Skype.’
It sounded like a trip of a lifetime. They’d travel from their hometown of Tanawha in Queensland, Australia, and go to Cairns, Darwin, and then on to Asia and Europe.
It was just a shame no one got to see sociable George before he left on such a long trip.
Blonde Lindy was a divorced mum-of-two when she met George and said he’d been her ‘knight in shining armour’. Divorced dad George had a big personality and was a football club president for a local team.
They lived together in their Sunshine Coast home and it seemed like they had a relaxing life. But Lindy told people George needed a de-stressing break, so they’d decided to go travelling.
Not many people knew that Lindy was having financial problems, and it didn’t stop her and George heading off in September 2013. According to emails sent from George’s account, their travels were going well.
‘We’re having a great trip,’ one read. There were texts too. He wished his son a Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday. Meanwhile, Lindy had some expensive dental work done in Thailand and bought a ring that cost $1,000AUD (£560).
Before long, 10 months had gone by and Lindy had returned home, but no one had seen George.
Around the time that George went abroad, members of the public reported a large parcel-type object on fire on a grassy verge at the side of a highway near Gympie, Queensland.
After the flames were put out, firefighters were horrified to discover the parcel was in fact the torso of a man, wrapped in plastic and secured with rope.
The corpse was missing its head, legs and hands. With so little to go on, it took 10 months to find something to identity the body.
Experts used the mix of medical prescriptions found in the body to determine what the victim would have been taking at
the time of his death. Then after obtaining a list that consisted of hundreds of names, they started knocking on doors.
In July 2014, officers arrived at Lindy’s home – 80km away from where the burning body was discovered. When they asked about the whereabouts of George, whose prescription matched that of the one taken by the victim, Lindy said he was abroad.
But her story was suspicious.
A blonde had been seen near the scene of the dumping spot, and Lindy’s story had holes. Officers later said they knew straight away they’d finally knocked on the right door. And DNA tests confirmed it.
The torso belonged to George Gerbic. Everyone was in shock – after all, hadn’t he been travelling with Lindy? If he’d been dead all this time, who’d been sending messages from his account?
With George identified, Lindy admitted she’d killed him, but said it was an accident.
‘I thought he was my knight in shining armour and I was just going to live an honest life with an honest man,’ she told police. ‘I miss him to pieces, but another part of me really hates him because I’m going through this now. I’m sitting here at 56 years of age, never done a thing wrong in my life, facing a murder charge because he wanted to be aggressive.’
Lindy claimed her boyfriend had a temper, and one night in September 2013 they’d argued and George had attacked her with a steak knife, slicing a wound in her arm.
As she’d tried to defend herself with a bar stool, George had slipped on her blood and hit his head on a granite kitchen worktop. Lindy said she locked herself in a bedroom overnight and the next day, he was dead on the floor.
She claimed to have fled to a motel.
Then Lindy’s versions of events became even more bizarre – she said when she went back to the house, she found George’s body wrapped in plastic in the bathroom and it was missing his head, legs and hands.
She insisted she had no idea who had dismembered him in her absence, but admitted that she’d driven her boyfriend’s remains 80km away, dumped them at the side of a road and set them alight.
Lindy was videoed doing a walk-through of the crime scene with police, even picking up the bar stool to re-enact the attack.
She stumbled over her words as she took them to where she’d found George’s torso: ‘I tried to pick it up with just the plastic but I couldn’t pick it up because it was too heavy and that’s when I went and got the tarpaulin and a rope and after I wrapped it up, I dragged it out,’ she was recorded saying.
Lindy was charged with murder and further investigations revealed her web of lies. Lindy had claimed to have been hiding in a motel for two days after the killing, but phone records showed she’d been driving around.
Most damning was when investigators discovered that Lindy had bought an electric saw from a hardware store 10 days after George had died. At the time of his death, an identical saw was found dumped outside a shop. On it was a speck of George’s blood.
Authorities believed Lindy had killed George, then, after chopping him into pieces, she’d concocted a story about travelling to cover up his disappearance.
She’d heartlessly pretended to be him, then spent his money. Lindy pleaded not guilty to murder, but guilty to interfering with his corpse.
This year, a Brisbane court found out just what a liar Lindy Williams could be. They heard about a story she’d told an Australian magazine called Woman’s Day six years before George’s death.
It had the headline: ‘I survived a crazed stalker’.
It was about her experience with a man who had kidnapped her and attacked her with a knife – eerily similar to her claim about George.
Lindy said she’d only just escaped with her life and her attacker had never been found. A friend testified that the whole thing had been a lie and Lindy had admitted to her that she’d made it all up.
It seemed Lindy had a habit of making up stories and the prosecution said it was a ‘pantomime of lies’. Another friend said that Lindy had joked that George’s property was so big she could ‘hide a body there’.
Lindy’s own lawyer said the story of finding her boyfriend dismembered was ‘rubbish’ but that his death had been a terrible accident, caused by Lindy trying to defend herself.
He said she was a domestic violence victim who panicked and concocted elaborate lies to cover it up.
But the prosecution were quick to shut down those claims and said Lindy was a cold, calculating woman who had dismembered the man who loved her, then spent 10 months deceiving his loved ones.
‘This isn’t a panicked act immediately after an event, because throughout this time she’s dealing with all the friends, she’s sending some emails and making conscious decisions about what she’s going to do,’ they said.
‘She’s covering up something she has to cover up.’ Lindy, now 60, was found guilty of murder.
At the sentencing, Justice Peter Flanagan was deeply critical of Lindy’s actions. ‘What I found most distressing was the lies you told to George Gerbic’s parents,’ he said to her. George’s dad died aged 95 before seeing justice. He’s now buried next to his son’s torso.
Justice Flanagan added, ‘The act of cutting up George Gerbic with a saw… is, on any view, a horrific act. It has denied the family
the closure that would come from being able to bury their father.’
He went on to say, ‘Because you dismembered his body, it remains unknown where his head is, where his lower body is,
and where his hands are,’ he said. ‘For 10 months, you undertook a very sophisticated and detailed cover-up… that cover-up included lying to so many people.’
He sentenced Lindy to life in prison with the chance of parole in 2034 when she will be 77. She declined to make a comment and showed no emotion as she was led back into custody.
Despite Lindy being behind bars, George’s loved ones still aren’t able to move on.
The rest of George’s body has never been found and no one knows exactly how he was killed.
What they do know is heart-breaking enough. Lindy was responsible for George’s grizzly end.
She went on to spend his money, lie to everyone who loved him and then smear his character when she was caught out.
Turned out the truth was even more shocking than Lindy’s fiction.
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