Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski.
Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski.

How Ristevski ‘covered his tracks’

PROSECUTORS arguing Melbourne man Borce Ristevski murdered his wife say he went to "significant lengths" to cover up what was not "just an accidental killing".

Mr Ristevski, 54, is accused of killing his wife Karen Ristevski, 47, at their Avondale Heights home on June 29, 2016.

Police allege the pair fought about finances before he murdered her, bundled her body into the boot of her black Mercedes Benz SLK roadster and drove it to bushland at Mount Macedon, north of Melbourne, where it was dumped.

Ms Ristevski's body was found shoeless between two logs eight months later.

In the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on the final day of a committal hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to go to trial, lead prosecutor Matt Fisher told the court Mr Ristevski's conduct after his wife went missing points to murder.

"In this case, the post-offence conduct is so sustained, there is so much of and it's so significant that the only conclusion available is that the accused man had murderous intent," Mr Fisher said.

"This isn't just an accidental killing that ends up in the death of his wife and he decides, through panic or fear, to dispose of her body. He goes to significant lengths. It goes well beyond that.

 

Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski.
Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski.

"It starts within a very short time after the death of Karen Ristevski and doesn't end there. It goes on and on and on."

Mr Ristevski's mobile phone was turned off in the hours after Ms Ristevski went missing. Before that, his phone and his wife's phone made contact with Optus mobile phone towers along the Calder Freeway and at Diggers Rest in the direction of Mount Macedon.

Mr Fisher told magistrate Suzanne Cameron that everything Mr Ristevski did after his wife went missing was considered and calculated.

"Firstly, the accused man places her into the boot of her own car which is concealed inside the garage of her own house," Mr Fisher said.

"Secondly, he leaves that house in that car within a short time of killing her or causing really serious injury.

"He's then driving that car many kilometres to dispose of the body. He's looking for somewhere to dispose of the body. After some driving, he ends up on a dirt track, away from buildings, businesses, houses, people. It's isolated.

"He takes the deceased from the car, places her between two fallen tree trunks and further conceals her body with things from the bush. The crown says it was thorough and required great effort.

"For those eight months, the crown says the accused denies any involvement at all and that he lies about some aspects of this case. He knew full well because of what he'd done. He says to police he never left the home - that he stayed at home and did book work. Another time he says his phone was on all day, never off.

"He then calls, on a number of occasions, the deceased. In the context of this case, the only reason he made those calls was to cover his tracks. There's no report to police until the next day at the urging of his daughter, Sarah Ristevski."

Borce Ristevski before he was charged with his wife’s murder. Picture: Nicole Garmston
Borce Ristevski before he was charged with his wife’s murder. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Mr Ristevski strenuously denies any involvement in the disappearance and death of his wife.

Mr Fisher is making a submission that Mr Ristevski should be committed on a murder charge, not manslaughter.

Mr Ristevski's lawyers yesterday conceded there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on a manslaughter charge, but they want the murder charge dropped.

David Hallowes SC asked the magistrate to consider the lesser charge.

"We can see the evidence is of sufficient weight for a charge of manslaughter. In no way is that a confession from Mr Ristevski or me that he was involved in any way in the killing of his wife. It's simply an admission there is sufficient evidence that he be committed to stand trial on the charge of manslaughter.

"On the evidence as a whole, it would not be reasonably open for a jury to infer that, if they found Mr Ristevski had killed his wife, that he intended to kill her or cause her really serious injury," he said.

"There was no evidence of violence in the relationship or any threat of violence.

"There was no financial benefit to be gained by the accused from the death of his wife.

"There was no financial incentive whatsoever … no evidence suggesting any life insurance policies.

"The cause of death is unascertained. The evidence simply doesn't assist in any way in terms of establishing how death was caused."

Magistrate Cameron is expected to hand down her judgment at the conclusion of Mr Fisher's submission on Thursday.

Rohan.smith1@news.com.au | @ro_smith


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