Borce Ristevski gave dead giveaway signs he was guilty of killing his wife Karen shortly after she mysteriously vanished, body language experts say.
Lack of eye contact, fluttering eyelids and the lack of any visible emotion were some the telltale signs of Ristevski’s unusual behaviour at a press conference two weeks after she went missing from her Melbourne home in 2016.
Ristevski was sentenced to nine years in jail with a non-parole period of six years last month.
He denied killing his wife, 47, for almost three years until he pleaded guilty to his wife’s manslaughter one day prior to the start of his five week trial in March.
The fashion boutique owner’s decomposed body was recovered in Mount Macedon Regional Park bushland in central Victoria in February 2017, eight months after she was last seen alive at her Avondale Heights home in Melbourne’s northwest.
Borce Ristevski, pictured with daughter Sarah showed all the telltale signs he was guilty of his wife Karen’s murder at a press conference two weeks after her 2016 disappearance
The biggest giveaway sign Ristevski was lying was when he and his distraught daughter Sarah made a desperate appeal for information about Karen in July 2016, two weeks after she disappeared.
During the press conference, a reporter asked the confronting question that was on everyone’s lips: ‘Did you kill Karen?’
Ristevski did not answer, leaving one of Karen’s relatives to respond.
According to Perth-based body language expert Sophie Zadeh, he turns away and turns his head slightly to the side.
Sarah Ristevski (left) has stood by her father Borce (middle), despite pleading guilty the manslaughter of his wife Karen (left)
‘Borce doesn’t like what he just heard, reacting automatically and within the moment. It’s the timing and the significance of the words spoken which raises the red flag – especially when asked, “did you kill Karen?”,’ the My Alcomy founder told Yahoo News Australia.
But it was eyelid fluttering that was the biggest telltale sign, which Ms Zadeh described as an internal temper tantrum.
‘The eyelid flutter is a reliable, involuntary behaviour, a response to internal turmoil,’ she said.
Author of Body Language Allan Pease added while daughter Sarah was clearly distraught, she still looks reporters in the eye, unlike her father who showed little distress and avoided eye contact with reporters after the question was asked.
‘People in a distressed situation tend to hold eye contact longer and they blink less,’ Mr Pease told Yahoo.
‘He’s looking down, that’s the first thing that stands out.’
Borce Ristevski arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria for sentencing last month, where he was jailed for nine years with a non-parole period of six years
The couple’s daughter Sarah, 24, has always stood by her father, despite his recent guilty plea to manslaughter.
She refused to deliver a victim impact statement during the recent trial and chose to write her father a character reference instead.
‘If I could use a few words to describe my dad’s personality they would be loving, caring, sympathetic, protective and charismatic,’ Ms Ristevski said in her character reference.
‘Growing up as a family my mum, dad and I were completely inseparable.
‘We would spend all of our spare time together and family was everything to us. The love we had for each other was unexplainable, and everyone in our lives saw it.’
Lack of eye contact, fluttering eyelids, and the show of little emotion were some of the giveaway signs Borce Ristevski showed at the press conference regarding the disappearance of his wife Karen. Her body was found eight months later
It comes after criminal psychologist Laura Richards wrote an impassioned letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions last week asking for an appeal in relation to Ristevski’s ‘unduly lenient sentence’.
This should have been a murder charge. However, it was downgraded to manslaughter,’ Ms Richards wrote.
‘This is problematic. Manslaughter carries a maximum of 20 years. If a one-punch offender receives 10 years, to serve 10 before he is eligible for parole, how can the brutal killing of Karen (Ristevski) carry nine years, eligible for parole in six?’
Ristevski could be eligible for parole as early as 2023.
Borce Ristevski (pictured) was a pallbearer at the funeral of his wife Karen in March 2017
TIMELINE OF KAREN RISTEVSKI’S DEATH AND BRINGING HER KILLER BORCE TO JUSTICE
Karen Ristevski with her daughter Sarah
June 29, 2016
Karen Ristevski last seen at her Melbourne home in Avondale Heights
Her mobile phone pings off a tower in the Macedon Ranges
A car similar to her black Mercedes SLK coupe is spotted by CCTV cameras near Diggers Rest railway station
July 14, 2016
Husband Borce Ristevski and daughter Sarah make a tearful plea for information to help find their missing wife and mother
December 19, 2016
Police search grassland, waterways, creeks and farms
February 20, 2017
Karen Ristevski’s body is found at the Mount Macedon Regional Park
March 6, 2017
Funeral service held with Borce Ristevski a pallbearer and daughter Sarah leading the procession
August 31, 2017
Police recreate the journey of Ms Ristevski on the day she went missing in a black Mercedes, identical to hers
December 13, 2017
Borce Ristevski is charged with murder and faces court where a lawyer indicates a not-guilty plea. He is remanded in custody
April 18, 2018
Ristevski returns to court where it’s revealed detectives tapped his phone calls and planted listening devices as they investigated the alleged killing, compiling a 22,000-page evidence brief
Ristevski is granted state-funded legal aid as he fights the allegations
July 16, 2018
Ristevski’s two-week committal hearing begins and later hears evidence from his daughter Sarah who said he was never ‘aggressive’ towards her mum.
August 2, 2018
Ristevski is ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court, charged with murdering his wife
December 4, 2018
A five-week trial for Ristevski is set for March 2019
March 13, 2019
A day before a jury is due to be empanelled for his murder trial, prosecutors withdraw the murder charge after a judge’s ruling.
Borce Ristevski pleads guilty to the alternative charge of manslaughter