Sarah Ristevski's Glowing Character Reference For Dad
Sarah Ristevski says she hopes to one day replicate the relationship of her parents, even though her father admits killing her mother, whose body was found dumped in a Victorian forest.
Ms Ristevski's "glowing reference" for her father Borce includes details of how the family had been inseparable.
"The love they had for each other and the marriage that they shared is something I hope to one day experience myself," the 23-year-old wrote in the document tendered to the Supreme Court of Victoria on Wednesday.
While nine other relatives read emotional victim statements to the court slamming Ristevski, Sarah instead stood by the 55-year-old who pleaded guilty to his wife's manslaughter on March 13.
"Growing up as a family, my mum, dad and I were completely inseparable ... the love we had for each other was unexplainable," the reference, dated March 18, read.
Ms Ristevski said she had visited her father every week and spoken to him at least twice a day since he was arrested in December 2017.
"It pains me inside to hear all of these untrue claims about my parents (sic) marriage and the love they had for each other from people who were not apart (sic) of their lives," she wrote.
"The circumstances have left me without both of my parents ... all I can do is try to communicate the truth of how good of a dad and husband he was to my mum and I."
Other family members condemned Ristevski's lies and domestic violence.
Karen Ristevski's aunt Patricia Gray wept as she recalled making and distributing flyers when the 47-year-old went missing in June 2016, while the killer lied to his family and the police.
"It was very uncomfortable to watch as he manipulated his family," Ms Gray told the court.
"He and his vicious lies ... were agonising."
Ms Gray said Ristevski "bullied" his daughter into defending him, manipulating and lying for more than two years.
The court was also told on Wednesday that Ristevski first offered to plead to manslaughter following his murder committal hearing in September last year.
"The offer was devoid as to any explanation as to what occurred," chief crown prosecutor Brendan Kissane QC said.
"For that reason it was rejected."
He earlier said Ms Ristevski's cause of death was still unknown.
"Only one person knows why or how Karen Ristevski was killed, and that is the prisoner."
The murder charge was dropped this month after a court ruling that prosecutors couldn't rely on Ristevski's conduct after his wife went missing to prove murderous intent.
Ristevski admitted killing his wife following arguments about their precarious financial situation.
She was not found for almost eight months and an autopsy could not determine the cause of her death.
Aunt Marguerite Knight asked Ristevski "how did you get so cruel?".
The court was also told the macabre details of how Ms Ristevski's remains were found by two horticulturalists.
"They were drilling into the base of a pine tree when they smelled an odour," Mr Kissane said.
"They observed a human skull and a foot."
Mr Kissane said there was no evidence of Ristevski showing remorse.
He is due to be sentenced on April 18.
The maximum jail sentence for manslaughter is 20 years.
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