A man has been jailed for killing his wife in Australia in a high-profile case that saw him deny involvement in the crime for almost three years.
Borce Ristevski, 55, admitted to manslaughter last month over the death of Karen Ristevski, 47, in 2016.
Ms Ristevski’s body was found in bushland near Melbourne in 2017, eight months after she had gone missing and her husband had made pleas to find her.
He was sentenced to a maximum nine years in jail.
In sentencing, Justice Christopher Beale condemned Ristevski for playing “the part of the innocent grieving widower”.
“The pretence, the rank deceit only ended a few weeks ago when you pleaded guilty to manslaughter,” he told the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday.
The judge said Ristevski had spun a “web of lies” to the couple’s 22-year-old daughter, Sarah, who has supported her father throughout the case.
“Anyone with a modicum of compassion must understand that her predicament is an agonising one,” Justice Beale said.
What happened to Karen Ristevski?
Justice Beale told the court that Ms Ristevski was killed by her husband of 27 years inside their home in suburban Melbourne in June 2016.
He put her body in Ms Ristevski’s car and drove about 50km (30 miles) to a national park, the court heard. Her remains were discovered in February 2017.
Police identified Borce Ristevski as a suspect early on. He had said that his wife went for a walk on the day she went missing, after the couple had an argument about money.
He was charged with murder in December 2017. A trial on that charge was scrapped last month after Ristevski submitted his guilty plea to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
He will be eligible for parole after six years.
Ms Ristevki’s disappearance at the time had prompted public pleas from police, her other relatives, and even a prominent local actor.
After her body was found, an autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death.
On Thursday, Justice Beale said that Ristevski had not shown true remorse – noting that he still had not disclosed how or why he killed his wife.
“No sentence I can impose will undo the suffering you have caused and continue to cause to those who knew and loved Karen,” said Justice Beale.
Ms Ristevski’s brother, Stephen Williams, criticised the sentence as too lenient.
“Nothing was going to bring Karen back, but today was about justice, and we didn’t get justice today at all,” he told reporters.