Muesli boss doesn’t know why he killed business partner
AN elderly Melbourne muesli company boss still doesn't know why he murdered the business partner he treated like a daughter.
But 76-year-old Peter Pavlis is likely to die in jail for the frenzied stabbing murder of Jennifer Borchardt in her Richmond home last year.
Ms Borchardt had worked at The Muesli Company, which Pavlis founded in 1984, continuously since high school.
She had become a trusted co-owner and co-director to Pavlis.
But on July 25, 2017 Pavlis fatally stabbed Ms Borchardt, 49, in the kitchen of her Richmond home, in a "frenzied stabbing attack using a single edged weapon" out of "jealousy or anger".
He tried to clean the crime scene and pretended to colleagues that he was concerned about Ms Borchardt's absence from work.
He changed his clothes and lied about the reason he had a fresh knife wound on his thumb.
The same afternoon, Ms Borchardt's partner returned home to "find the lifeless body of the woman he loved".
Pavlis pleaded guilty to murder.
But Supreme Court Justice Lesley Taylor said Pavlis' motive remained unclear.
"The horror of her last moments can barely be imagined. You were a man very much trusted by her," she said.
It was previously suggested to the court he may have been jealous or angry about Ms Borchardt's new relationship, although there was no evidence to support the theory.
Pavlis also told a psychiatrist he had found a box full of $100 notes in Ms Borchardt's home and believed she had engaged in financial misconduct, although the cash was never discovered at the crime scene.
"I do not accept that it was ever there," Justice Taylor said. "I am unable to discern the true motive for your behaviour."
She denounced Pavlis' betrayal of Ms Borchardt's trust, loyalty and affection.
"You were a man very much trusted by her. She had started to work in your company as a teenager and grew to become your business partner," Justice Taylor said.
"She was encouraged to think that she was part of your family.
"Your actions in attempting to clean the murder scene and your other deceptions about your involvement were callous and cowardly."
At a previous Supreme Court hearing, Pavlis described Ms Borchardt as a "nice person" and said "I still can't understand how I did it".
In the days before her death Ms Borchardt had visited family on the Gold Coast, posting on Facebook: "LIVE everyday like it is your last LAUGH at every opportunity and LOVE every minute."
The killer was jailed for 17 years but will be eligible for parole after 12 years.
"We are pleased with the result today and glad the court has recognised that Peter Pavlis is a cold-blooded murderer," Ms Borchardt's niece Carlie Smith told reporters outside court.
"All those years of hard work and dedication and that was the thanks that she received, to be buried in a grave early when she still had half a lifetime to live."