The estranged husband of a woman whose body was found in her home has appeared in court charged with murder.
Elaine Pandilovski, 44, was found dead at her home in Mill Park about 9.30pm on Tuesday by police who were conducting a welfare check.
Her husband, Zoran Pandilovski, appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon and was charged with murder as well as dangerous driving offences following a crash in Mount Cottrell in Melbourne’s west.
Members of Mr Pandilovski’s family held each other’s hands and wept during the filing hearing as his lawyer told the court Ms Pandilovski’s death happened in the context of “supposed” domestic violence allegations.
Dressed in a white T-shirt, Mr Pandilovski occasionally glanced at his mother and brother who were seated metres away from members of Ms Pandilovski’s family.
The hearing, before magistrate Peter Reardon, heard that investigators had examined more than 20 items that were found at the scene.
Mr Pandilovski, 45, of Epping, had been in hospital under police guard after he was involved in a car crash on Tuesday morning which put two others in hospital. He was remanded in custody and will face court again on November 24.
Ms Pandilovski, who had a young son, worked as a teacher’s aide at Plenty Parklands Primary School in Mill Park.
After she didn’t go to work on Tuesday, family members went to her house to search for her but couldn’t find her. The son was being cared for by his grandmother at the time.
A family member, who did not want to be named, said the relatives saw her car in the garage and realised she had not been to work. Police were called and came to search the home, where they found Ms Pandilovski’s body.
Police said two cars collided head on, on Davis Road at Mount Cottrell – about 50 kilometres from Ms Pandilovski’s home – about 10.30am on Tuesday.
“It is believed the collision may be linked to the Mill Park homicide,” a police spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
Paramedics took three people to hospital after the collision. Mr Pandilovski was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition with lower-body injuries.
A man in his 30s was taken to Sunshine Hospital in a stable condition with minor injuries, and a teenager was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital in a stable condition with upper-body injuries.
Ms Pandilovski’s aunt, Mary Yoannidis, wrote on social media on Wednesday that she was in shock. “My beautiful niece, words can’t explain how we are feeling now. Your life was taken from us and we couldn’t help,” she wrote.
Plenty Parklands Primary School principal Claire McInerney said counselling was being offered to staff and students.
“Our school community is coming to terms with this sad news,” she said.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of such a positive, supportive and professional member of our community.”
Ms Pandilovski and her husband had been married for more than 15 years but had separated in recent years. Mr Pandilovski was living in Epping.
One neighbour said they had seen him mowing the lawn at the front of Ms Pandilovski’s home in recent weeks.