The daughter of Avondale Heights woman Karen Ristevski has told a Melbourne court her father Borce Ristevski was “very worried” when her mother went missing in mid-2016.
Mr Ristevski, 54, is facing a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court, charged with the murder of his 47-year-old wife, whose body was found in a nature reserve at Mount Macedon, north-west of Melbourne, in February 2017.
Sarah Ristevski, 23, was living with her parents when Ms Ristevski went missing on June 29, 2016 – just a few weeks after her 21st birthday.
“I didn’t grow up in a household where there were many arguments,” Sarah Ristevski told the hearing.
“We were very close.”
In an hour of evidence, Sarah Ristevski told the court her mother would sometimes go off for a drive or a walk for half an hour or a few hours “to be alone and clear her head”.
“Mum would get annoyed,” Sarah Ristevski told the hearing.
“She and I have the same personality. Dad was calmer.”
Mr Ristevski’s lawyer asked Sarah Ristevski about her father’s reaction when her mother was missing.
The court heard yesterday there was a period of 27 hours during which he had not tried to contact his missing wife.
“He was very concerned about where mum was,” she told the court.
“He was very worried about it.”
Magistrate Suzanne Cameron heard that Mr Ristevski did some driving for the ride share service Uber and sometimes would sleep on the couch downstairs if he worked late.
He might also fall asleep watching late-night television, Sarah Ristevski said.
Sarah Ristevski was studying at university at the time and sometimes worked at Bella Bleu, the women’s fashion store owned and run by her mother at a shopping centre in Watergardens.
“It was her passion. There was no Bella Bleu without mum,” she said.
The court heard yesterday the couple had been having financial problems and had closed a second store in February 2016.
But Sarah Ristevski said “Bella Bleu was turning over a profit”.
She was critical of the media, telling the hearing some news agencies stayed outside the family home for an extended period and followed her to her workplace.
“They were basically stalking us,” she said.
“My father and I didn’t have time to mourn because of them.”
A long-time customer of Bella Bleu yesterday told the hearing about an incident she had witnessed when visiting the store about two weeks before Ms Ristevski went missing.
The court heard Sarah Culhane, who had a friendly relationship with Ms Ristevski, had overheard a 10-minute telephone conversation that left Ms Ristevski “flustered and upset”.
In a statement released by the court today, Ms Culhane said it was the first time she’d heard Ms Ristevski swear, when she used the word “f–k” when talking about Mr Rivstevski.
The EFTPOS machine at the shop was not working at the time.
“My husband pisses me off,” Ms Rivstevski told Ms Culhane, according to the statement.
It was getting towards 9pm – closing time – on June 16, the statement said.
“I don’t want to go home. I’d rather stay here,” Ms Ristevski said, according to Ms Culhane’s statement.
Melanie Archer, a medical doctor and entomologist, had collected and analysed soil and insect samples at the scene where Ms Ristevski’s body was found lodged between two tree trunks.
Her statement – also made available this morning – said Ms Ristevski’s body had been at the Macedon Regional Park for “at least three months” but “less than a year”.
The hearing continues.