For the past three years, we’ve seen her name in the news headlines and her infectiously happy smile in the few photos that we’ve been privy to.
We’ve become so familiar with the facts of the crime.
Eight months later, her skeletal remains were found in a shallow grave in the Victorian bush. Her body was so decomposed that it could not be determined how she died.
Her husband had always been the prime suspect in her murder, a fact he continuously and vehemently denied for two years, lying to police, family, friends and his own daughter, until the eve of his high profile murder trial.
Last month, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, finally admitting what so many had long suspected – he had killed his wife.
Yesterday, he was sentenced to nine years in jail with a non-parole term of six years. With time served, he’ll be out in less than five.
Outside court on Thursday, Stephen Williams, the brother of Karen Ristevski, told reporters, “Nothing was going to bring Karen back, but today was about justice, and we didn’t get justice today at all.”
“As a society, in regard to domestic violence, we must, at some stage, take a stand.”
As a society, we feel angry, we feel shock and we feel helpless.
We cannot get Karen back, we did not get justice for Karen, but what we can do is not forget who Karen Ristevski was. We need to remember her story – the one beyond the headlines of her husband’s callous act of violence, the one that tells the story in the picture of a beaming woman who so clearly loved life.