Family of slain Kiwi mother Karen Ristevski confront her killer in Melbourne court

The family of Kiwi mother Karen Ristevski have confronted her killer in Melbourne.

Borce Ristevski pleaded guilty to manslaughter after years of denying he killed his wife. But even as a judge considers his sentence, they still don't know how or why she died.

Ristevski concealed a morbid secret as he carried his wife to an early grave. Karen's husband and pallbearer was also her killer, who hid what he'd done.

He's admitting killing her, but as he awaits sentence for manslaughter, still won't say how.

Karen grew up in New Zealand before moving to Melbourne from Lower Hutt.

Her disappearance in 2016 rocked her family on both sides of the Tasman. It was a mystery that would take years to reveal.

Ristevski kept his silence and repeatedly lied to police. Her body was found eight months later, north-west of Melbourne, in a shallow bush grave.

Two years on, he was charged with murder. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in March.

There were tears and plenty of anger in court as one by one Karen's family made emotional victim impact statements.

Each of them spoke of trauma and anguish - but especially anger - that Ristevski had deceived them, killed her and covered it up.

Not knowing how she died is still painful for Steve Richardson, Karen's cousin in New Zealand.

"I pray it was quick," he says. "But unfortunately I'll never know."

Her aunt Patricia Gray helped lead the search for justice.

"I couldn't and wouldn't attend the funeral to watch Borce carrying the coffin," she says. "Meaningless words spewing from his mouth about Karen would've made me sick."

The couple's daughter Sarah did not give a statement, but Risetvksi's son was clear.

"He should at least get 20 without parole," Anthony Rickard says. "Why should he get out in 10 years? He's taken a life, 50 years short of what she could've lived to."

Ristevksi will be sentenced in Victoria's Supreme Court in April, but the truth of how he killed Karen might never emerge.