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Two years ago Borce Ristevski carried his wife's coffin in tears. Yesterday he admitted to killing her.

On April 18 2019, Borce Ristevski was sentenced to nine years in prison for the death of Karen Ristevski.

Borce Ristevski, a man who since 2016 has claimed innocence, unexpectedly pleaded guilty yesterday to the manslaughter of his wife Karen.

The 54-year-old was about to stand trial in the Victorian Supreme Court accused of murdering Karen, 47, at their Avondale Heights home, when he decided to enter a guilty plea.

It’s been the gut feeling of so many, particularly his brother-in-law and daughter who have questioned his innocence, as the evidence against him mounted.

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Karen was a dress shop owner, she had a luxury million dollar home, a thriving career, family and a social life. But she went missing without a trace on June, 29 2016. Her husband reported her disappearance the next day.

He admitted they’d had an argument about financial issues, and she’d left the house on foot, leaving her car behind, to “clear her head.” In one story to police he said they’d fought in an upstairs room, but in another story, he claimed they were downstairs and she left through a different door.

Both Ristevski and his daughter Sarah made a tearful plea to the media for help in finding her.

As the family’s backstory started to unravel it was revealed that they’d been $600,000 in debt for the past decade. A shopping centre had also lodged a caveat over their family house, believed to be due to unpaid rent.

The couple’s relationship was also rocky, a couple of months before she vanished, Karen confided in a friend that they did not sleep together and that she preferred he sleep on the couch.

Karen Ritevski. Image: Getty.
Karen Ristevski. Image: Getty.
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Mr Ristevski was interviewed as part of the police investigation, but released 'pending further enquiries.' He told police he went driving for ride share company Uber the afternoon of her disappearance, and had dinner with Sarah and his parents that night. When asked by family where Karen was, he said she was at her clothing store.

He also claimed to have driven his wife's car in the hours after she left, because he "thought he needed to get fuel."

The police investigation also found he, or somebody in the house, used the family iPad to search topics including Apple Maps and Google tracking history in the days after Karen went missing.

In the months after Karen's disappearance, Mr Ristevski's son from another relationship Anthony Rickard took to Facebook, claiming to have had an affair with his stepmother Karen, saying they had plans to run away together.

At one point, Mr Ristevski's brother claimed in the Herald Sun Karen might have fled to China or the US using a fake passport, something her friends dismissed strongly.

The media was full of speculation, even comparing the case to "Gone Girl" the Gillian Flynn novel that was later made into a blockbuster movie.

Karen's skeletal remains were found eight months after she went missing in Macedon Regional Park, an hour's drive from the Ristevskis, by two horticulturalists who noticed a strange smell. Her remains were found lodged between two logs off a walking trail.

An autopsy couldn't determine her cause of death.

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After she was found dead, instead of grieving with his family, Ristevski went to his high profile defence lawyer's office in the CBD.

The police investigation meantime, had traced pings from the couple's mobile phones to transmitter towers along the Calder highway on the day of her disappearance. The highway heads out of Melbourne, in the direction of the national park. Mr Ristevski's phone was also turned off for a few hours that day.

Ristevski
Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski. Image: Facebook.

In March, hundreds of mourners packed into Karen Ristevski's funeral. Mr Ristevski looked every part the grieving husband, tears rolling down his face has he sought comfort from friends and family. He was one of the pallbearers carrying her coffin.

In June 2017, CCTV footage was revealed showing a grainy car driving over a railway crossing in the suburb of Diggers Rest (half an hour from home in the direction of the national park), on the day Karen went missing. It was the same model as her Mercedes-Benz SLK coupe.

In a recorded telephone conversation with her father, Sarah Ristevski asks him bluntly why he turned his phone off for two hours as he drove in the direction of where Karen's body was later found.

"You know what I want to know?" she said. "You're out of the house for two hours - driving around with your telephone off. They pinged you on the Calder [freeway]. So you were driving?"

Her father told her he was being stitched up by the police because they had no credible leads.

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"That doesn't make sense" she shot back.

"Nothing makes sense," he replied.

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He also admitted to Sarah in the phone conversation, he was smoking shisha on the day Karen went missing, but he hadn't told police because he didn't know if it was illegal.

Following a lengthy investigation, Mr Ristevski was charged with murder on December 13, 2017. He was remanded in custody and gave a plea of not-guilty.

A two-week committal hearing began in July 2018. In that, Sarah told the court her parents fought every few weeks, but that her father was a "calming influence". As a result of the committal hearing, Ristevski was committed to trial which was due for this month, for five weeks.

It's believed Ristevski decided to change his plea now, in an effort to get the lesser sentence of manslaughter, Melbourne lawyer Justin Quill told A Current Affair.

Karen's brother released a statement yesterday that read, "today has been a surprisingly emotional day - one in which I have been patiently waiting for."

A plea hearing is set for March 27.

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