Secret wife killer will never reveal

 

Borce Ristevski was carrying a secret as friends, family members and mourners gathered around him at the funeral for his wife Karen.

What they didn't know at the time was that the Melbourne man had killed his long-term partner and the mother of his only daughter, Sarah, at their Avondale Heights home earlier in 2016.

Borce would admit to killing his wife months later in court but there remains one secret he will not reveal - how and why he did it.

Next month marks five years since Karen was killed at the hands of her husband, bundled into the boot of his car and driven to dense bushland where her body was dumped and left to decompose to such a state that the cause of death was unable to be ascertained.

Her death is part of a pattern of behaviour from men in Australia where one woman a week is murdered by her current or former partner.

Almost 10 women a day are hospitalised for assault injuries at the hands of a spouse or domestic partner.

Every day in May, as part of Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Month, news.com.au will tell the stories behind those shocking statistics.

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Sarah Ristevski was comforted by her father Borce at a press conference to appeal for information about her missing mother, Karen. Borce was later revealed as her killer.
Sarah Ristevski was comforted by her father Borce at a press conference to appeal for information about her missing mother, Karen. Borce was later revealed as her killer.

 

Ristevski secret cost him years in prison

In April of 2019, Ristevski stood in the Supreme Court of Victoria while Justice Christopher Beale sentenced him for killing Karen and trying to cover it up while her body was missing for eight long months.

The then-55-year-old showed little emotion as he was jailed for a minimum of just six years in a sentence that sparked outrage from the public.

Ristevski's plan appeared to have worked. He and his lawyers had gambled on silence - hoping that by not revealing the truth about what he did to his wife he would escape the maximum penalty.

Justice Beale hinted that Ristevski may have escaped a more lengthy jail term because there were facts omitted.

He said he "simply could not say whether" the killing of Karen was "middle or upper range of seriousness for manslaughter" because of the secrecy and "insufficient information".

Justice Beale said "without knowing the level and duration of the violence perpetrated by you before causing your wife's death" he had struggled to rank the level of manslaughter committed by Ristevski.

But it would not be long before the tactic backfired.

Prosecutors appealed and in December of that same year the Victorian Court of Appeal punished Ristevski for refusing to tell why or how he killed his wife of 27 years.

His original sentence of nine years with a minimum of six was set aside and a new sentence of 13 years with a minimum of 10 years was inserted in its place

Outside court, Karen's brother Stephen went a step further, telling reporters capital punishment - the death penalty - should be reinstated in Victoria.

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Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said Ristevski showed a "total lack of remorse" for what he had done.

"His conduct after he killed his wife significantly aggravated his offending," she said.

"Ms Ristevski should have been safe in her own home.

"Mr Ristevski did not simply maintain his silence but took immediate positive steps to avoid his crime being discovered."

She said he had "not shown one scintilla of remorse" for what he did.

Prosecutor Brendan Kissane told the court Ristevski's silence was an indication of the seriousness of the killing.

"What silence means … when one puts all of that together … what one can say about what occurred in the house is that it must've been something significant," he told the court.

"What one concludes is that something bad must have happened in the house."

Sherele Moody, who has documented the violent deaths of some 2400 women and children in Australia for the RED HEART Campaign, told news.com.au many women's deaths were "entirely foreseeable and preventable".

"It is fairly evident from the number of women and children killed over the past decade, that intimate partner and domestic violence is still far too common in Australia," she said.

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"It seems, no matter how many times we focus attention on this national shame, very few perpetrators are getting the message that they need to take control of their own actions before they end another person's life."

She said Australia prioritises the wrong thing and fails to treat domestic and family violence as seriously as it deserves to be treated.

According to Our Watch, Australia's leader in the primary prevention of violence against women and their children, one-in-three women in Australia has experienced physical violence since the age of 15 and one-in-four women in Australia has experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner.

The organisation says Australian women are nearly three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said it is often the case that women are murdered in Australia simply for trying to escape.

"Shockingly, one woman on average is killed nearly every week in Australia by a male partner or ex-partner - often while she is trying to leave the relationship," she told news.com.au.

"Most of these murders are the ultimate act in a longer history of domestic violence."

 

Originally published as Secret wife killer will never reveal