Borce Ristevski, the man accused of murdering his 47-year-old wife, broke down in tears as his daughter Sarah gave evidence in court on Tuesday, 9News reports.
Sarah Ristevski was 21 when her mother, Karen Ristevski, disappeared from their Avondale Heights home in Melbourne’s west on the morning of June 29, 2016.
According to 9News, the graphic designer told the court, “I didn’t grow up in a household where there were major arguments. My parents didn’t argue a lot”.
BREAKING: Borce Ristevski has showed emotion for the first time during his committal hearing – he broke down as his daughter gave evidence about their family.
— Emily Angwin (@EmilyCAngwin) July 17, 2018
Accused wife killer Borce Ristevski emotional .. wipes away tears as his daughter gives evidence in court at his committal hearing. Sarah Ristevski has described her father as calm and says they were a very close family @3AW693
— Kiara Parker (@Kiara_Parker_) July 17, 2018
She said she had never seen her father, Borce, act aggressively towards her mother.
“Mum would get annoyed. She had the same personality as me,” she said. “And dad was always the calm one. He would calm us down.”
When asked about the nature of her parents’ arguments, Sarah used an example of her dad being unable to resist a bargain at the supermarket.
He would go out to buy milk and return with biscuits as well.
“Dad would say ‘well the Shapes are only a dollar each’ and mum would say ‘but now I’m going to eat them and my thighs will get fat’,” Sarah said.
“That would be an argument for me.”
Sarah said her father was distressed after Karen’s disappearance.
“He was extremely worried,” she said of Borce.
“He was very concerned about where my mum was.”
Earlier on Tuesday, it was reported that Borce Ristevski’s estranged son, 34-year-old Anthony Rickard, would not give evidence in court. It’s alleged Rickard dodged police for months to avoid testifying, but was arrested on Sunday in relation to outstanding warrants. He was originally due to speak at the committal hearing.
Borce and Karen Ristevski in ‘deep financial straits’.
It’s alleged he then drove his wife’s black Mercedes-Benz coupe to Macedon Regional Park to dispose of her body, killing the signal on his mobile phone along the way.
Ristevski on Monday faced Melbourne Magistrates Court for the opening of a two-week hearing that will determine if there is enough evidence to stand trial for murder.
The case against Ristevski was presented in a summary by prosecutor Matt Fisher, who said the couple’s boutique fashion store Bella Bleu had been losing money for years.
Ms Ristevski had been missing for eight months before her remains were found among logs by two horticulturists in February 2017.
“They were drilling into the base of a pine tree when they both smelled an odour,” Mr Fisher said.
“Between two logs they observed a human skull and a foot protruding up.”
The body was identified as Ms Ristevski’s and prosecutors allege she was murdered by her husband after the pair argued about their struggling business.
Bella Bleu had lost more than $320,000 over four years and the Ristevskis also had several loans and a credit card debt of more than $80,000.
"Sales coming in did not cover their expenses," Mr Fisher said.
"It is alleged the financial predicament was very serious."
The alleged murder occurred between 8.58am and 10.43am on a Wednesday morning after the couple's then 21-year-old daughter Sarah had left home for work.
Inconsistencies in Borce Ristevski's statements.
Ristevski told police his wife left the house on foot to clear her mind and never returned but detectives noticed inconsistencies in his statements.
He originally told police he had stayed at home all day doing bookkeeping, but later changed his statement, saying he went for a drive in his wife's car.
Ristevski claimed he planned to get petrol but once on the road the faulty fuel gauge showed the Mercedes-Benz roadster was full enough, and he turned around.
Detectives later used CCTV footage, telecommunications data and expert fuel consumption reports to form their view that Ristevski had killed his wife, dumped her body and returned home.
"It is alleged the accused drove the deceased in her car to the place where her was body was located," Mr Fisher said.
"The accused deliberately excluded and withheld information and fabricated certain facts to distance himself from the crime."
An autopsy could not determine Ms Ristevski's cause of death. A bone in her neck was damaged but forensic doctors couldn't rule out this occurring after death.
The committal hearing continues before magistrate Suzanne Cameron and nearly 30 witnesses are expected to speak, including the Ristevskis' daughter Sarah and possibly his son Anthony Rickard, who faced court himself on Sunday on unrelated outstanding warrants.
Timeline: How the Karen Ristevski case unfolded.
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
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 husband Borce Ristevski a pallbearer, while daughter Sarah leads 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. 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
May 16, 2018
* Court told the pair's daughter Sarah and Borce's son Anthony are expected to give evidence at a committal hearing
July 16, 2018
* Ristevski's two-week committal hearing starts, aiming to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial.