When Sarah Ristevski typed out a "glowing" reference for her dad, she did so knowing he'd killed her mum. These three words explain a lot.
Sarah wasn't in the courtroom on Wednesday when her relatives took three years of frustration, anger, sadness and grief out on her father.
They called him "a monster" for lying about what he'd done to Karen Ristevski on a cold morning after a night spent sleeping in separate rooms.
They cried uncontrollably while revealing how he hugged them at Karen's funeral while concealing a lie, and they struggled to finish sentences about the physical and mental turmoil they have suffered since Karen's death.
Sarah, the only daughter of Borce and Karen, was intentionally absent from court. But her dad already knows how she feels about him.
She's spoken to the 55-year-old killer every day since Karen went missing in June 2016 and never stopped speaking to him even after he told a courtroom he was "guilty" more than two years on.
Though Sarah missed proceedings in the Victorian Supreme Court this week, she made it clear where she stands.
In a revealing character reference which she hopes will help reduce Borce's sentence, Sarah wrote that her dad was always there for her and that they were "inseparable".
She wrote that she has "visited him every week and talked to him on the phone at least twice a day since his arrest in December 2017".
She wrote about memories she will cherish from her childhood and even spoke of "the love" and "marriage" her parents shared as being "something I hope to one day experience myself".
But it was three words towards the end of the two-page document that reveal most accurately how she feels about what her father did.
She called the killing of her mother an "act of violence".
"Since the act of violence my dad has experienced job loss, a loss of respect within the community and the loss of close long-term friendships," she wrote.
But other family members, including Karen's aunt Patricia Gray and her cousin Nevada Knight, clearly don't feel the same way.
The pair strode one after the other to the witness box and stood metres from Borce as they delivered lengthy, detailed statements about his lack of character.
Ms Knight told the court she had lost 15kg "by going days and weeks without being able to move" after the 47-year-old went missing.
"I would vomit every time I moved," she said.
She spoke of sitting behind Ristevski at her cousin's funeral and being hugged by the man who killed her.
"I hugged him standing over her body at her gravesite where he whispered, 'thank you for coming, your support means a lot'."
She told him he was not remorseful and had only admitted to killing his wife "when it suited your case".
"You've had almost three years to come forward. That's not remorse. That's selfishness.
"Her body was discarded in the most inhumane way. It takes only a second to dial triple-0."
Ms Gray said told Borce she did not attend Karen's funeral because she couldn't bear to watch him carry the coffin or hear "lies spew from his mouth".
"To watch … as he was comforted by family and friends, to hear lies spew from his mouth — it would've made me sick," she said.
Ms Gray told Ristevski she would never forgive him for what he did.
"I can never forgive Borce for the lies and deceit and manipulation … He manipulated his family. I believe he bullied and manipulated (Sarah)."
Sarah Ristevski has stood by her father ever since he was asked directly by a reporter in the days after Karen went missing whether he killed his wife.
She spoke of her affection for him at a committal hearing last year, telling the Melbourne Magistrates' Court at the time that he was the "calm one" in the family and that her father and mother never fought.
As she spoke, Borce had tears in his eyes. It was the only time during the two-week hearing that Borce showed any emotion.
Sarah's glowing reference — and four other character references — be considered by Supreme Court Judge Christopher Beale before he hands down a sentence on April 18.
Karen Ristevski went missing from the couple's Avondale Heights home on June 29, 2016. Borce told family and police that she went for a walk, but in truth he killed her, bundled her body into the boot of her car and drove it to Macedon Regional Park where it was dumped.
Karen's body was found between two logs eight months later.
The cause of death has never been revealed.
Sarah's character reference in its entirety:
Your Honour, My name is Sarah Jane Ristevski, and I have had the pleasure of knowing my dad Borce Ristevski my whole life. 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. Although I am aware of the charge against my dad, I have visited him every week and talked to him on the phone at least twice a day since his arrest in December 2017. I have so many amazing memories with my dad that I will forever cherish, especially those memories of my parents together. The love they had for each other and the marriage that they shared is something I hope to one-day experience myself. If I could use a few words to describe my dad's personality they would be loving, caring, sympathetic, protective and charismatic. I was lucky enough to have really close relationships with both my mum and dad. When I was really young dad would get me up every morning and make sure I was ready for school. He did my hair, ironed my uniform and packed my lunch before driving me to and from school every day. He drove me to all of my extra-curricular activities and stayed to watch all of my sport activities even though I wasn't very good. Growing up I was so extremely lucky to have two loving parents who did everything they could for each other. Dad would always be helping mum out. From helping her stream and put out stock at her retail store to being the advice giver and shoulder to cry on when she felt like her family wasn't there for her. He would always put my mum and I first before anyone else, as did my mum with him and I. It pains me inside to hear all of these untrue claims about my parents marriage and the love they had for each other from people who were not apart of their lives, and I can't stress enough how much this has effected my dad. My dad has not had any prior convictions or issues with the law, and I can confidently say that in my 23 years I have never witnessed any form of violence between my mum and dad. Within our family and even the wider community, my father was always someone that people could look up to and respect. From people at the local footy and cricket club to co-workers, my father was extremely well liked and respected. He got along with everyone and if anybody ever needed advice or help, he was always there. Both of my parents were always involved in giving back to charity, and a big thing that my dad was specifically apart of was contributing a percentage of the profits from the clothing stores takings to charity. Growing up my dad played both footy and cricket at our local club. He was really good at cricket before he injured his knee, and I believe he still holds the highest batting average in the Essendon district. Whether it was dad himself playing or his team playing when dad was coaching footy, mum would always be there on the sidelines supporting him. That's how they were together, no matter what they were doing, whether it was work related or hobby related they supported each other completely no matter what. Since the act of violence my dad has experienced job loss, a loss of respect within the community and the loss of close long-term friendships. The extensive media coverage has been not only hard on him, but has been significantly hard on me. For months my dad would try his best to shield me from the waiting media outside our home, but unfortunately he can't shield my anymore. The circumstances have left me without both of my parents, and I know there is nothing that I can do to change that but all I can try to do is communicate the truth of how good of a dad and husband he was to my mum and I. Sincerely, Sarah Jane Ristevski