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Suspected murder-suicide: Leonie Geldenhuys' marriage had rapidly deteriorated, friends say

Friends of a respected Lithgow doctor stabbed in a suspected murder-suicide said the woman's marriage had rapidly deteriorated in the days before she was brutally killed.

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Lithgow death: suspected murder-suicide

A woman found dead in her home by her teenage sons was killed by her husband in a suspected murder-suicide, allege police.

Leonie Geldenhuys' two sons, aged 13 and 18, woke on Tuesday morning to find their 46-year-old mother fatally stabbed in their Wrights Road home.

Later that day, police found the body of her 54-year-old husband at the family's second property on Wolgan Valley Road, Wolgan Valley. Police said there were several items with him that linked him to his wife's killing, and they are treating the incident as a murder-suicide.

Police don't believe his death was suspicious and the incident is being treated as a murder-suicide.

Neighbour and friend John Rowe said Dr Geldenhuys' husband, Jacobus, was quiet and aloof and rarely spoke to neighbours when they said "hello" in the street.


He said he was a complete contrast to his wife, who was well-known in Lithgow and was a popular, compassionate and warm GP.

"He never mixed in or anything like that," Mr Rowe said. "Visitors would often come to their home in the early days but there weren't many any more. Leonie would have been a magnet attraction for people because everyone thought the world of her but he was quite controlling."

Two weeks ago, Dr Geldenhuys attended a surprise party at Mr Rowe's home but said she had to sneak out without her husband's knowledge.

"She really enjoyed herself but didn't want her husband knowing where she was. I wish she had've said why," Mr Rowe said.

Dr Geldenhuys worked 10-hour days at the Lithgow Valley Medical Practice and had saved to help put her 21 year-old daughter, Janie, through university in Sydney.

Lithgow Valley Medical Practice manager Nikki Baraz said Dr Geldenhuys was "the most beautiful person you could ever wish to meet".

"She was, I believe, the best mother and the most compassionate doctor," Ms Baraz said. "She was the whole package - lovely, smiley, always happy. She was always punctual, always pleasant. She will be irreplaceable."

In recent days, Mr Geldenhuys, who was unemployed, had stopped driving their two sons to school and was spending almost all his time at the couple's second property in Wolgan Valley, Mr Rowe said.

Detective Inspector Luke Rankin said there were no previous reports of domestic violence but the status of the relationship ''and any issues they may have been dealing with will be a focus of our investigation''.

He said the couple were still living together at the time.

Mr Rowe said he believed they had separated but Mr Geldenhuys was trying to reconcile with his wife.

"If you ran into her down at the shopping centre and she was on her own, she was all chatty – but when they were together, she'd keep moving," he said.

The couple's two sons were seen distressed and pacing back and forth between police cars on Wrights Road on Tuesday after making the gruesome discovery.

They were dressed in their pyjamas with no shoes and were later taken away by counsellors.

The family of five migrated from South Africa six years ago in search of a better life.

Tragically, she came to the regional NSW town believing it would be more secure than her homeland, Ms Baraz said.

She said colleagues were in disbelief "to see her go in the way she did".

"It is tragic and so unexpected," she said.

Known in Lithgow as Dr Leonie, the GP's death has triggered an outpouring of emotion from patients and locals.

Robyn Wall posted on Facebook: "Dr Leonie ... was my dr for the last six years she was the most beautiful person I think I've ever met."

Another patient, Lucy Kurtz, posted online that Dr Leonie had helped her when her daughter died.

"[She] was an easy person to talk to she helped me through the saddest time of my life with the passing of my daughter," she said.

Detective Inspector Luke Rankin said on Tuesday the couple's teenage sons were being looked after and were "obviously traumatised and I suppose unimaginably traumatised finding their mother deceased".

"Then, as the day's gone on, we've had to inform them that their father's also been found dead," Inspector Rankin said.

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