New CCTV clue could solve the Karen Ristevski murder case2:37
VICTORIAN Police Missing Persons Squad chief Tim Day has revealed he is confident of catching Karen Ristevski’s killer.
Detective Inspector Day said he had no concerns that the Ristevski murder would remain unsolved.
“Nothing is ever certain, but I have every confidence in the investigation,” he said.
Det-Insp Day was speaking after the Herald Sun revealed new clues in the year-old Karen Ristevski case could provide the vital breakthrough detectives need to lay murder charges over her death.
“I will leave others to judge as to what makes him a suspect,” Det-Insp Day said.
“All I will say at this stage is yes he remains a suspect in relation to the death of Karen.”
Det-Insp Day said he wasn’t prepared to reveal Ms Ristevski’s cause of death or go into what Borce Ristevski has told police during interviews with detectives.
“I can’t go into that. There’s a lot of material in relation to the investigation that I won’t go into,” he said.
“I don’t think it helps what we are trying to do today to go into what version of events Borce has given.”
What Det- Insp was trying to do was get publicity for CCTV footage they have that was shot on the day Ms Ristevski went missing of what they suspect may be her car being driven through Diggers Rest towards where her body was found at Mt Macedon.
In what could be a particularly important clue, detectives are also hopeful that someone saw the distinctive black Mercedes-Benz SLK coupe near Mt Macedon that day and they are urging anybody who did to contact Crime Stoppers.
The Herald Sun understands that one theory police are working on is that the Mercedes was being driven by Ms Ristevski’s husband Borce and that her body was in the vehicle when the CCTV cameras snapped it going over the Diggers Rest railway crossing on June 29 last year.
Detectives have spent months tracking down the owners of just about every similar car in Victoria and have eliminated all of them as being the driver of the Mercedes shown in the CCTV footage.
They haven’t been able to eliminate Borce Ristevski as the driver they are looking for.
While they are certain Ms Ristevski, 47, owned a 2004 model car exactly like the Mercedes caught on camera, they aren’t at this stage 100 per cent sure it is her car in the footage as it was shot side on, so the registration number isn’t visible, and it is too blurry to give any clue as to who was behind the wheel.
Victoria Police is today releasing the CCTV footage in the hope it will jog the memories of people who were in the Diggers Rest area after 11am on June 29 or near Mt Macedon about midday on that day.
Borce Ristevski, 53, has admitted to police he drove his wife’s Mercedes on the day she went missing, but claimed he only went as far as the Calder Park Raceway before doing a U-turn and driving back to their Avondale Heights home.
It will be a strong piece of evidence implicating him if any of the drivers of the vehicles snapped on the CCTV footage near the time the Mercedes was filmed recognise their vehicles and come forward with details of seeing the Mercedes, its full or partial registration number or its driver at Diggers Rest.
It will be crucial evidence if publicity about the CCTV footage flushes out people who saw the Mercedes soon afterwards near where Ms Ristevski’s body was found at Mt Macedon — almost certainly crucial enough to see someone charged with murdering Ms Ristevski.
Mr Ristevski continues to deny he had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance and death.
The day after Ms Ristevski’s body was found on February 20, Borce Ristevski’s lawyer, Rob Stary, said it was clear Mr Ristevski was a suspect in the murder of his wife.
Victoria Police Missing Persons Squad chief Tim Day yesterday confirmed to the Herald Sun that Boris Ristevski is still a suspect in the investigation of the killing of his wife and the dumping of her body at Mt Macedon.
“Yes he’s a suspect. His own lawyer said he’s a suspect,” Det-Insp Day said.
“He remains a suspect. Whether there are other suspects or not I’m not going to comment on.
“But do I suspect the Mercedes in the CCTV footage may be Karen Ristevski’s car, yes I do.
“We are really keen to find out if anybody has seen the Mercedes up in the area where Karen’s body was found at Mt Macedon.”
Det-Insp Day provided details to the Herald Sun about the CCTV footage and what he hopes releasing it will achieve.
He said it showed a black Mercedes of the type owned by Ms Ristevski being driven northwest along the Old Calder Highway and crossing the Diggers Rest railway crossing about 11.12am.
The footage also captured several other vehicles being driven over the Diggers Rest railway crossing in convoy with the Mercedes, with the Mercedes the last car in the chain.
They include a white Ford Ranger single cab ute towing a dual axel trailer with a yellow mini-excavator on it; a black Holden Commodore ute fitted with a black canopy; a maroon Nissan Patrol wagon with a black roof rack and a spare tyre fixed to the rear door; a white Honda Jazz wagon and a silver Kia Rio wagon.
The driver of the silver Kia Rio was immediately in front of the Mercedes. Police are hoping the driver of the Kia took notice of the driver behind him in his rear view mirror and might be able to describe him.
“It’s likely anybody viewing the CCTV footage would recognise their own vehicle, particularly the very distinctive Ford Ranger towing the mini-excavator — which was travelling in proximity to the Mercedes,” Insp Day told the Herald Sun.
“I appeal to that driver to contact us. I also appeal to anyone who saw the Mercedes in Diggers Rest that day to contact Crime Stoppers.
“We also want to hear from anyone who recognises and can identify any of the other vehicles seen in the footage.
“I also urge any person who may have been in the Gisborne or the Mt Macedon areas about midday on Wednesday June 29 last year, particularly in the vicinity of the Macedon Regional Park, the Mt Macedon Golf Club or Mt Macedon Road, near where Ms Ristevski’s body was found, and who may have seen a black Mercedes in these locations, to contact Crime Stoppers.
“Detectives are keen to speak with anyone, regardless of whether they have spoken to police in the past about such sightings, to ensure that no stone is left unturned.
“I would also urge any owners or drivers of black 2004 to 2006 Mercedes-Benz coupes who haven’t already been spoken to by police, and there would only be a very small number as we have already tracked down hundreds of them, to come forward.”
It is now almost a year since murder suspect Borce Ristevski claimed his wife Karen walked out of their Avondale Heights home “to clear her head” after they argued over money.
He saw her on the morning of Wednesday, June 29 and nobody has seen her alive since then.
The twists and turns in the still unsolved case during the past 12 months have shocked and captivated Victorians.
While Borce Ristevski painted it as a missing person case, and detectives from the missing persons squad continue to be in charge of the probe, it has been treated as a murder investigation from just about day one.
Detectives have also treated the husband as a suspect from very early on.
Nothing they have discovered in the past 12 months has changed their view on Boris Ristevski being a suspect for murdering his wife.
Mr Ristevski continues to deny he had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance and death.
Police refuse to disclose the identity of any other suspects they might be looking at.
Mr Ristevski has also denied the argument he had with his wife on the day she disappeared had anything to do with their struggling family businesses, which included his wife running Bella Bleu boutique stores in Taylors Lakes and Broadmeadows, saying she hadn’t “done a runner” because of growing debts.
“It had nothing to do with our financial situation, it was about the takings the previous day that we were discussing” he told the Herald Sun in August last year.
But Mr Ristevski did admit to the Herald Sun that after the Bella Bleu shop in Broadmeadows closed in February last year the shopping centre had put a caveat on the Ristevski’s $1.1 million home in Oakley Drive, Avondale Heights, due to a dispute over money owed.
Mr Ristevski’s estranged son from a previous marriage claimed to have had a troubled relationship with his stepmother and that she was planning on leaving her husband when their daughter, Sarah, turned 21.
He said he lived with his father, stepmother and half-sister Sarah for several years, but claimed a family conflict that was “swept under the carpet” tore them apart.
The Herald Sun has chosen not to reveal the nature of the conflict Mr Rickard alleged had plagued the family.
Then there was Borce Ristevski’s brother Vasko’s claim that Ms Ristevski had bought a fake passport and run away overseas to get away from tensions between her and her husband and stepson.
“She’s been going overseas to America and Hong Kong each month for the past 10 years on business, and I’m told it’s fairly easy to get a false passport, Vasko Ristevski told the Herald Sun in December last year.
On February 20 this year, her badly decomposed body was found wedged between two logs by a bushwalker off a dirt track in the Macedon Regional Park near Loch Rd, Mt Macedon, presumably placed there by her killer.
The Herald Sun revealed in August last year that police had obtained evidence from the phones of Borce and Karen Ristevski that showed on the day she disappeared the phones had been “pinged” off transmission towers on the Calder Freeway, with his phone last tracked to near Diggers Rest and her phone being tracked near Gisborne — both on the way to where the body was later discovered — and that Mr Ristevski’s phone was switched off for two hours soon after he claimed his wife walked out of their house about 10am on June 29 last year.
Mr Ristevski made no mention to police — and detectives obviously asked him to detail his movements — of having driven up the Calder Freeway on the day his wife disappeared until after police revealed the phone pinging information to him.
He then said that he had borrowed his wife’s 2004 model Mercedes coupe to check on its faulty fuel gauge.
His version of events was that he hit a bump in the road and the fuel gauge fixed itself so he did a U-turn near the Calder Park Raceway — a long way short of Diggers Rest, Gisborne and Mt Macedon — and drove back home.
Police have found no evidence faulty fuel gauges in Mercedes vehicles can be fixed by going over a bump.
DNA quickly enabled police to confirm the remains found at Mt Macedon were those of Ms Ristevski.
“It’s pretty clear police have him as their number one suspect,” Mr Stary said at the time.
That number one suspect was one of the six pallbearers who carried Ms Ristevski’s coffin out of the packed St John’s Uniting Church in Essendon on March 6.
Ms Ristevski’s daughter Sarah led the funeral procession, carrying a photo of her mother.