Borce Ristevski, the Melbourne man charged with murdering his wife, Karen Ristevski, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
- Ristevski was about to stand trial for murder when he pleaded guilty to manslaughter
- He had denied killing Karen Ristevski, whose remains were found in a park north-west of Melbourne
- He will appear at a pre-sentence hearing in two weeks
Ristevski, 54, admitted to the killing while attending preliminary legal arguments ahead of his Supreme Court trial.
His 47-year-old wife’s body was discovered in bushland near Mount Macedon, north-west of Melbourne, in February 2017.
She disappeared from the couple’s home in Avondale Heights, in Melbourne’s west, eight months earlier.
Prosecutors today withdrew the murder charge and Ristevski pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Ristevski, who had denied killing Ms Ristevski, will appear at a pre-sentence hearing in two weeks.
An autopsy could not ascertain the cause of death.
When his wife vanished, Ristevski told police she had gone for a walk to clear her mind after an argument, and that she never returned.
Ristevski, who was a pallbearer at his wife’s funeral, was charged with murder after an investigation that involved listening devices and CCTV footage analysis.
It was alleged he took Ms Ristevski’s Mercedes-Benz car to dispose of the body in bushland, killing the signal of both of their mobile phones on the way.
It was alleged he then dumped his wife’s body between two logs and concealed it with branches before returning home.
Her skeletal remains were discovered eight months later in Macedon Regional Park.
During earlier court hearings, Ristevski’s lawyers had argued the murder charge should be abandoned and sought a pre-trial committal hearing on the lesser charge of manslaughter, because no jury could find there was murderous intent.
But prosecutors pushed hard for a murder trial, saying Ristevski’s deceitful behaviour after the killing gave rise to the required intent.
They said the actions of concealing the body and lying to family and police were not those of a man who accidentally killed his wife.
The magistrate said the evidence was largely “circumstantial” but that the case was strong enough for a jury to convict him for murder.