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Family who bought the home of Karen Ristevski say they love it’s ‘warm family feel’

The family that bought murder victim Karen Ristevski’s house say they love the “warm family feeling.”

The 47-year-old disappeared from the home of Avondale Heights, in northwestern Melbourne, in June 2016, and her body was found eight months later in bushland near Mount Macedon.

In March 2019, her husband Borce shocked the nation when he admitted to killing her after denying something involved in her death for nearly three years, even carrying her coffin as a carrier at her funeral.

Now Samantha and James Mandalas, who spent two years transforming the house, have revealed that they are not deterred by the dark past and love the “family feeling”.

They bought the five-bedroom property from Sarah, Mr. and Mrs. Ristevski’s daughter, through a telephone auction during the lockdown.

Borce Ristevski, 55, murdered his wife Karen (left) at their home Avondale Heights, Melbourne, in June 2016, before dumping her body in a regional park.  In the picture with their daughter Sarah, who was 21 at the time

Borce Ristevski, 55, murdered his wife Karen (left) at their home Avondale Heights, Melbourne, in June 2016, before dumping her body in a regional park. In the picture with their daughter Sarah, who was 21 at the time

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Samantha and James Mandalas, who spent two years transforming the Ristevski house, have revealed they weren’t deterred by the dark past

They bought the five-bedroom property from Mr. and Mrs. Ristevski's daughter, Sarah, through a telephone auction during the closing

They bought the five-bedroom property from Mr. and Mrs. Ristevski’s daughter, Sarah, through a telephone auction during the closing

“We fell in love with it and the warm family feeling,” said Ms. Mandalas RealEstate.com.au† “We bought Sarah’s house and then had to get a commission from Borce and we were delayed about five months because of this process.

‘Price was not an issue, we were attracted by the layout and the convenience of the large-scale house with so many children.

“It really felt like home: beautiful views, split levels and we love to design and mirror houses.”

The couple revealed that they are selling the house to be closer to their family after the birth of their sixth child.

The property has an asking price of $2.5 million – $2.75 million, $1.225 million higher than what they paid in 2020.

Ms Mandalas also said they knew the Ristevskis had lived in the house, but they knew Borce’s son Anthony through mutual friends.

Neighbors still remembered the couple, she added, and mail was still arriving for them at the property.

The property has an asking price of $2.5 million - $2.75 million, $1.225 million higher than what they paid in 2020

The property has an asking price of $2.5 million – $2.75 million, $1.225 million higher than what they paid in 2020

Ms Mandalas also said they knew the Ristevskis had lived in the house, but they knew Borce's son Anthony through mutual friends.

Ms Mandalas also said they knew the Ristevskis had lived in the house, but they knew Borce’s son Anthony through mutual friends.

Ristevski feigned innocence over his wife’s murder, lied to the police, the public and his daughter, and even carried his wife’s coffin to her funeral.

He later pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the eve of his murder trial, but has shown no regrets and refused to explain why or how he killed her.

When Ristevski was sentenced to nine years, six without parole, Justice Christopher Beale said he did not have enough information to determine the seriousness of the murder.

Even though he killed her mother, Ristevski’s daughter Sarah has always stood by her father.

After his confession, she gave her father a glowing character reference during a plea hearing before the Supreme Court of Victoria.

“If I could use a few words to describe my father’s personality, they would be loving, caring, sympathetic, protective and charismatic,” Sarah said in the character reference that spans over one page.

“Growing up as a family, my mom, dad and I were completely inseparable.

“We would spend all our free time together and family was everything to us. The love we had for each other was inexplicable, and everyone in our lives saw it.”

Sarah said she had never seen her father act violently against her mother.

“My father has had no previous convictions or problems with the law, and I can confidently say that in my 23 years, I have never witnessed any violence between my mother and father,” she said.

KAREN RISTEVSKI: HOW THE MYSTERY DISCOVERED

June 29, 2016

* Karen Ristevski last seen at her Melbourne home in Avondale Heights

* Her cell phone pings from a tower in the Macedon Ranges

* A car resembling her black Mercedes SLK coupe spotted by CCTV cameras near Diggers Rest train station

December 19, 2016

* Police search grassland, waterways, creeks and farms

February 20, 2017

* Karen Ristevski’s body found in Mount Macedon Regional Park

A hiker stumbled upon Karen's body between two tree trunks in Mount Macedon National Park on Feb. 20, 2017

A hiker stumbled upon Karen’s body between two tree trunks in Mount Macedon National Park on Feb. 20, 2017

March 6, 2017

* Funeral service held with husband Borce Ristevski a pallbearer, while daughter Sarah leads the procession

31 August 2017

* Police recreate Mrs. Ristevski’s journey the day she disappeared in a black Mercedes, identical to hers

Dec 13, 2017

* Borce Ristevski charged with murder and faces court where a lawyer gives a not-guilty plea. He has been placed in custody

April 18, 2018

* Ristevski returns to court where it is revealed that detectives tapped phone calls and installed listening devices as they investigated the alleged murder, and compiled a 22,000 page piece of evidence

*Ristevski gets state-funded legal aid as he fights the allegations

Incarcerated: Borce Ristevski

Incarcerated: Borce Ristevski

March 12, 2019

* Prosecutors suffer a major setback.

A Supreme Court judge rules that evidence about Ristevski’s behavior after Karen’s death cannot be used as evidence that he had ‘murderous intent’

March 13, 2019

* Ristevski’s charges have been dropped and he pleads guilty to Karen’s death by manslaughter

April 18, 2019

* Ristevski is sentenced to nine years in prison, with a six-year unconditional period

May 13, 2019

* Prosecutors launch bid to increase Ristevski’s jail term, labeling his sentence as ‘manifestly inadequate’.

November 15, 2019

* Hearing on appeal at Victoria’s Court of Appeal begins

December 6, 2019

*His sentence is increased to 13 years, with a non-parole period of 10

February 16, 2020

* Daughter Sarah Ristevski speaks out about her mother’s death and her father’s conviction in first public interview

Source: AAP, Daily Mail Australia

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