Neckbone mystery aired in Karen Ristevski hearing

Neckbone mystery aired in Karen Ristevski hearing

A forensic pathologist will be questioned about the inconclusive results of an autopsy on the body of Karen Ristevski, a court has been told.

It comes as a Melbourne Magistrates Court preliminary hearing was told Borce Ristevski's son and daughter will be called to give evidence in the prosecution case against their father.

Ms Ristevski, 47, went missing from the Avondale Heights home she shared with her husband Borce Ristevski and then 21-year-old daughter Sarah on June 29, 2016.

Karen Ristevski with husband Borce and daughter Sarah.

Karen Ristevski with husband Borce and daughter Sarah.

Her remains were found in the Mount Macedon Regional Park eight months later. Borce Ristevski was charged with his wife's murder in December.


Magistrate Suzanne Cameron on Wednesday told a preliminary hearing the results of an autopsy were inconclusive.

But Mr Ristevski's lawyer Sam Norton said he wanted to question the pathologist about what potential findings could be made for a body that had decomposed for such a length of time.

He also said there was an "odd" issue with the hyoid. The hyoid is a bone in the neck that sits between the chin and thyroid cartilage.

The hyoid bone can be of significance in forensic science as it can't be easily fractured and, if it has been damaged, it can be present in cases of suspected strangulation.

The court was not told whether it had fractured or not in this case and The Age is not suggesting there was a fracture.

The pathologist is among 29 witnesses, which include Sarah Ristevski and Mr Ristevski's son Anthony Rickard, to be called in a two-week committal hearing in July.

Sarah Ristevski, the magistrate said, would need advice in relation to her rights in giving evidence about her father.

Magistrate Cameron also flagged Mr Rickard would need advice about incriminating himself in relation to drug use before he was cross-examined.

An engineer will also be called to give evidence about "the vehicle", as well as a forensic dental expert.

Just what evidence each witness will give won't be revealed until the July hearing, which is designed to test evidence against an accused. The case may then proceed to trial or a plea hearing, or be dropped if the evidence is weak.

Mr Ristevski was in court for Wednesday morning's proceedings. He rose when asked to, clasping his hands together and nodding when Magistrate Cameron said she would remand him until the July hearing.

‘‘Thank you, your Honour,’’ he said.

The new information from court comes as Mr Ristevski’s lawyers withdrew an application to prevent media from reporting the committal.

Tammy Mills is a Crime Reporter for The Age.

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