Legal

Joanita Wibowo

Family of Karen Ristevski fights to change "husband-and-wife" gravestone

Family of Karen Ristevski fights to change "husband-and-wife" gravestone

Family of Karen Ristevski is fighting to replace the headstone of the slain Melbourne woman, which leaves one side blank to be reserved for her husband killer Borce.

The gravestone at Karen’s final resting place at Victoria’s Williamstown Cemetery was laid long before Borce pleaded guilty to the manslaughter earlier this month.

Borce, who admitted to killing his wife of 27 years in his plea, appeared to plan to be buried next to her.

A spokesman for The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust confirmed that Borce purchased the two-person burial plot eight days after Karen’s body was found, and that Borce is the right of interment holder of the grave site.

“The plot was purchased on February 28, 2017, in the week prior to Karen’s interment service on March 6, 2017,” the cemetery official told the Herald Sun.

The spokesman also said that while it is common practice for the interment holder – usually the spouse – to later be buried with the deceased, “no intent is clear in that regard”.

The cemetery officials are now in talks with Karen’s relatives who wish to have the plaque changed, a spokeswoman told news.com.au.

“We are working with the family regarding what their rights are and trying to assist them in a way that adheres to the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act of 2003 (Victoria) that all cemeteries are bound by,” said the spokeswoman.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation that the confession came right before the trial, and by that stage, the headstone had well and truly been laid.”

The tombstone sparked outrage among members of a social media group dedicated to the case after a photograph was posted last week. Some speculated that it was part of Borce’s attempt to appear innocent.

After two years of claiming he had nothing to do with his wife’s death, Borce admitted to killing Karen on June 29, 2016. Karen’s body was found by hikers in Mount Macedon eight months later on February 20, 2017.

According to Chief Crown prosecutor Brendan Kissane, QC, Borce has not revealed to investigators about how or why he killed Karen.

“To date only one person knows why or how Karen Ristevski was killed and that is the prisoner,” Kissane told the Victorian Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Karen and Borce’s daughter Sarah has given her father a glowing character reference, describing him as “loving”, “sympathetic” and “protective”.

On the other hand, Borce’s son from another marriage, Anthony Rickard, said his father should receive a long sentence for taking Karen’s life. “He should at least get 20 [years], and that’s without parole. Why should he get out in 10 years?” he told Channel 7. “He’s taken a life, 50 years short of what she could’ve lived to.”

The plea hearing continues.