'No woman deserves this': family's cry for justice


Zoran Pandilovski abused his childhood sweetheart Elaine for two decades before he strangled her inside her home.

Their relationship was marred by Pandilovski's repeated infidelity, gambling and alcohol issues.

In 1999, the year they got engaged, he was convicted for criminal damage of a car while Elaine and her sister were seated inside it.

Twenty years later, Elaine reported her husband's violent behaviour to police and he moved out of the family home.

In the following months she saw an improvement in Pandilovski's behaviour and allowed him to visit for lunches and dinners with their son.

Pandilovski told a mutual friend he was hopeful of a reconciliation, but Elaine told the same friend that was not going to happen.

On July 14, 2020, while their 12-year-old son was staying with his grandmother, Pandilovski went over to Elaine's Mill Park home and choked her to death.

Clutching a photo of Elaine, her family called for an end to violence against women outside the Supreme Court, as Pandilovski was jailed for at least 17 years on Wednesday.

"After three years, one month and 16 days, we can finally lay her to rest," Elaine's aunt Mary Yoannidis said.

"She didn't deserve this - no woman deserves being put through this."

Her mother Kathy Dafopoulos said the family had been "through hell and back" and Pandilovski deserved what he got.

"I wish it was life in jail," she said.

Elaine's best friend Carolyn Stamp said more needed to be done to stop men killing former or current partners.

"We need justice served for men killing women," she said.

"Since Elaine has died there have been so many after her and there will continue to be more unless something is done."

After strangling Elaine, Pandilovski hid her in a basement storage room and took two photos of her lifeless body.

He did not call triple zero and instead took her phone with him and drove down the Western Ring Road, where he veered into an oncoming car and injured two people.

When the 44-year-old woman failed to show up at work that day, friends and family went to her home to look for her.

They frantically searched the house three times, before police confirmed their fears and found her body that evening.

"The way she died would have been terrifying," Justice Christopher Beale told the court.

"Not only did you cut short her life, but you have also visited great suffering and loss on her loved ones."

A jury was about to be empanelled for Pandilovski's trial in April, when his lawyers said he would admit the murder.

Justice Beale said the 48-year-old's change of plea had spared Elaine's family the ordeal of having to testify at a trial and found he was remorseful for the killing.

He said Pandilovski had reasonable rehabilitation prospects and would suffer hardship in prison after losing his relationship with his son.

Pandilovski was handed a maximum 24-year prison term.

He has already served three years of that sentence and will be eligible for parole in 2037.

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