For two-and-a-half years Borce Ristevski vehemently denied any involvement in the killing of his wife.
He strenuously protested his innocence throughout the search for Karen Ristevski's body and after she was found between two logs north of the family's home at Avondale Heights.
Then on Wednesday he came clean, confessing on the eve of his murder trial that he did it.
Why did it take him so long? A close family member has a new theory.
The person, who did not wish to be named, told Seven News he "covered it up for Sarah", referring to the couple's 23-year-old daughter who supported him the entire time.
"The embarrassment and heartbreak of losing Sarah's love would have been too much," they said.
"He thought, 'Deny, deny, deny. They can't prove it.' For him to have the presence of mind to do everything he did afterwards is unbelievable and unforgivable."
Ristevski, 55, confessed after the pre-trial argument on Wednesday found prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to prove he intended to murder his wife.
When asked how he pleaded to manslaughter, Ristevski stood in the dock at the back of the court and said: "guilty".
Other family members have also spoken out. Karen's aunt, Patricia Gray, told the Herald Sun the killer's confession was "too little, too late" and that he did it for "selfish reasons".
Borce's son from a previous relationship, Anthony Rickard, told news.com.au yesterday that he was having an affair with his stepmother and the reason Ristevski confessed was because "I gave him an ultimatum."
"I told him; 'If you don't get up and be a man I'll go into the (witness) box and tell them exactly what went on behind closed doors'," Rickard said.
"He knew what was going on between me and Karen but he did nothing, he didn't protect me, he was a coward.
"That's why I told him if he didn't man up now, after all these years of doing nothing while I went through hell, it would all come out in the witness box."
Karen Ristevski went missing on June 29, 2016 after an argument with Borce. He was accused of killing her in the family home and driving her body to Mount Macedon Regional Park where he dumped it.
Karen was missing for eight months before a passer-by found her badly decomposed body between two logs 50m from a dirt road.
It has never been determined what caused her death, but a forensic pathologist found a broken bone in her neck.
Days after Karen went missing, Sarah questioned her father about the way he was acting and what he was telling police.
In a recorded phone conversation, she asked why he did not tell them he drove her car on the day she went missing.
"You know what I want to know?" she said. "You're out of the house for two hours, your telephone is off for two hours. You were driving and you turned your telephone off. They pinged you on the Calder (Freeway). So you were driving?"
Mr Ristevski deflected the question. He played the victim. He told his only daughter he was being stitched up by cops who had no other credible leads.
"That's what (police) are trying to plant out there, Sarah," he said.
"That doesn't make sense," she shot back.
"Nothing makes sense," Mr Ristevski said.
The charade he started with that first lie established a pattern of behaviour he did not break for almost three years.
The 55-year-old had his birthday in custody this week and will appear again in the Victorian Supreme Court on March 27 for a pre-sentencing hearing.
It's expected he will give an account of how Karen died but will not be compelled to take the stand.