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Karen Ristevski's family silent after husband confesses to killing

Karen and Borce Ristevski.Courtesy: Supplied

The family of Karen Ristevski are yet to speak after her husband pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.

Ristevski was accused of murdering his 47-year-old wife at their Avondale Heights home on June 29, 2016, and dumping her body in bushland.

Following the confession, prosecutors withdrew the murder charge. Ristevski will avoid spending life behind bars.

A female friend of Ristevski’s son Anthony Rickard claimed the long-awaited confession won’t come as a surprise to Mr Rickard.

He always believed his dad did it Kim Barcelona said.

Any immediate members of the Ristevski family are yet to speak.

A plea hearing for Ristevski is now set for March 27, the Supreme Court confirmed in a statement.

Melbourne lawyer Justin Quill, who has followed the case from the beginning, told A Current Affair he believed the reason Ristevski pleaded guilty was in an attempt to lessen his sentence.
Ristevski alongside daughter, Sarah, in 2016. (AAP)

It may be that he thought he was going to be found guilty by a jury if he went to trial, so he’s taken the easy option Mr Quill said.

If he wants to lessen his penalty, he’ll have to tell the court at some stage and in some format what happened, and how it happened, and why it happened.

Whether the family and friends of Karen believe that is another thing, of course.

Ristevski had denied killing the dress shop owner, whose skeletal remains were found eight months later in Macedon Regional Park by two horticulturalists who had noticed a strange smell.

An autopsy could not ascertain her cause of death.

The morning after the grim discovery, Ristevski visited his high-profile defence lawyer’s office in the CBD.

He remained silent as he was questioned by 9News about his innocence.

When his wife vanished, Ristevski told police she had gone for a walk to clear her mind and never returned.

Ristevski, who was a pall-bearer at his wife’s funeral, was charged with murder after an investigation.

It’s alleged he took Ms Ristevski’s Mercedes-Benz roadster to dispose of the body in bushland, killing the signal of his and her mobile phones on the way.
Mr Ristevski (left) maintained his innocence for more than two years. (Nine/Supplied)

He then allegedly dumped his wife’s body between two logs and concealed it with branches before returning home.

In June 2017, A Current Affair’s Martin King found Ms Ristevski’s brother-in-law, Vasko, at the site where the 47-year-old’s body was located three months earlier.

During earlier court hearings, Borce Ristevski’s lawyers had argued the murder charge should be abandoned and sought a pre-trial committal hearing on the lesser charge of manslaughter, because no jury could find there was murderous intent.

But prosecutors pushed hard for a murder trial, saying Ristevski’s deceitful behaviours after the killing gave rise to the required intent.
Ristevski was a pall-bearer at his wife’s funeral. (Nine)

They said the way he concealed the body and lied to family and police were not the actions of a man who accidentally killed his wife.

The magistrate said the evidence was largely “circumstantial” but taken at its highest, the case was strong enough for a jury to convict him for murder.

In emotional testimony at the committal hearing, the couple’s daughter Sarah Ristevski said her father was never aggressive towards her mother.

The family’s troubled financial situation was aired with details of Ms Ristevski’s fashion store Bella Bleu being unable to cover its expenses.

The Ristevskis had allegedly argued over money before the killing.

Death of Karen Ristevski: Timeline of events

June 29, 2016

Karen Ristevski last seen at her Melbourne home in Avondale Heights

Her mobile phone pings off a tower in the Macedon Ranges

A car similar to her black Mercedes SLK coupe spotted by CCTV cameras near Diggers Rest railway station

July 14, 2016

Husband Borce Ristevski and daughter Sarah make a tearful plea for information to help find their missing wife and mother

December 19, 2016

Police search grassland, waterways, creeks and farms

February 20, 2017

Karen Ristevski’s body found at Mount Macedon Regional Park

March 6, 2017

Funeral service held with Borce Ristevski a pallbearer and daughter Sarah leading the procession

August 31, 2017

Police recreate the journey of Ms Ristevski on the day she went missing in a black Mercedes, identical to hers

December 13, 2017

Borce Ristevski charged with murder and faces court where a lawyer indicates a not-guilty plea and he is remanded in custody

April 18, 2018

Ristevski returns to court where it’s revealed detectives tapped phone calls and planted listening devices as they investigated the alleged killing, compiling a 22,000-page evidence brief

Ristevski is granted state-funded legal aid as he fights the allegations

July 16, 2018

Ristevski’s two-week committal hearing begins and later hears evidence from his daughter Sarah who said he was never aggressive towards her mum.

August 2, 2018

Ristevski ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court charged with murdering his wife

December 4, 2018

A five-week trial for Ristevski is set for March 2019

March 13, 2019

A day before a jury is due to be empanelled for his murder trial, Borce Ristevski pleads guilty to manslaughter after prosecutors withdraw the murder charge.