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Sarah Ristevski speaks of continuing love for jailed father

“I love my Dad now. I loved him before and I’ll love him in 11 years when he’s home.”

Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski. Borce pleaded guilty to manslaughter over his wife's death.

Karen, Borce and Sarah Ristevski. Borce pleaded guilty to manslaughter over his wife’s death.Credit:Nine

Ms Ristevski said she did not speak about her mother’s death when she visited her father in prison and would not be drawn on whether she believed he was guilty.

“People don’t see the pain that I see when I go to see him [in prison],” she said.

Borce Ristevski had maintained that he had nothing to do with his wife’s death. However, murder charges were dropped on the eve of his Supreme Court trial in March last year when he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Ms Ristevski said her father was “hurting as much as I am” over her mother’s death.

“I think people need to understand how close we all were … I’m not just going to give up on someone, especially when I’m so close. It’s my Dad,” she said.

Ms Ristevski said she had “no doubt in my mind that my Dad loves my Mum”.

“We both loved Mum, we still both love Mum,” she said.

Sarah Ristevski during her interview on 60 Minutes.

Sarah Ristevski during her interview on 60 Minutes.Credit:Nine

When asked about her father’s apparent lack of remorse, she said: “I’ve seen the sadness for the loss of my Mum. We both have the same amount of sadness. We loved her very much. We still love my Mum.”

Ms Ristevski said she could not comprehend that her mother was gone and she did not want to think about how she died.

She said she asked her father if he had anything to do with her mother’s death and he replied, “No.”

When asked if she believed her father was innocent, she said she didn’t know what to believe.

“I just think I’m not emotionally ready to be there,” she said.

Sarah Ristevski, centre, leaves the Court of Appeal in Melbourne in December.

Sarah Ristevski, centre, leaves the Court of Appeal in Melbourne in December.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui

When asked why she chose to stick by her father, she replied: “I think because I … believe in him. I think that’s what it is.”

Ms Ristevski said she felt she could not move forward if she was “stuck in the past”.

“I think people forget my Dad’s serving the time, but I feel like I am as well,” she said.

“I think when you’re in my position, your mind’s all over the place and you’re thinking of different things and I’m not thinking about how my Mum died. I just can’t go there.”

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While she said she still loved both her parents, her decision not to give a victim impact statement over her mother’s death, instead offering a favourable reference for her father, raised eyebrows.

“I think I just didn’t want to give a victim impact statement because I was giving it to the [police] officers that were so horrible to me in the first place, and I also wanted to try and represent the Dad I knew, the Dad I know,” she said.

Ms Ristevski said her father knew about the television interview and told her to “be truthful and to be myself”.

“That’s all he asked,” she said.

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While she carried significant emotional scars, Ms Ristevski said she was determined to live her own life.

“I think that I’m more than just Sarah Ristevski that lost her Mum and that has her Dad in jail,” she said.

“I’m 24, I’m a graphic designer, I love to travel, and I guess I’m somewhat normal.”

Asked what her dreams for the future were, Ms Ristevski replied: “I just hope to make my parents proud.”

60 Minutes is produced by the Nine Network, which owns this publication.

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