A pregnant Melbourne woman whose death was staged to looked like a tragic weightlifting accident was actually strangled, a coroner says.
Snezana Stojanovska, 26, was found dead with a barbell across her neck by her husband Dragi Stojanovski in their Preston garage in November 2010.
Victorian State Coroner Sara Hinchey on Thursday found the woman was a victim of homicide and directed the matter be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ms Stojanovska was found in her pyjamas and a dressing gown lying on a makeshift bench press - an ironing board propped up with telephone books.
Judge Hinchey agreed with a doctor's analysis that the young woman, who was 12 weeks' pregnant with Mr Stojanovski's child, had not dropped the weights on her neck, but had been strangled.
"The pattern of bruises, the many, quite separate bruises and in particular the ones up underneath the ear and around the jaw, did not fit at all with the story presented that this may have been an entrapment by a barbell," said Dr Malcolm Dodd, who inspected the body.
A sports science expert quoted in the coroner's findings said the equipment set-up in the Stojanovski's garage was the strangest he'd seen.
Dr Harry Brennan said the ironing board was balanced "precariously" on top of the phone books and a chair at the head of the ironing board would have made it hard to lift the weights.
He also said most women doing a work-out would wear a sports bra, t-shirt, leggings and runners - not pyjamas, no bra and bare feet.
Ms Hinchey noted a "significant" phone call made by the victim's brother-in-law, Vasko, to the family doctor 35 minutes before he called triple-zero.
Paramedics arrived six minutes after they were called and found Ms Stojanovska's body cold and in the early stages of rigor mortis.
"These signs are evidence of the fact that Ms Stojanovska would not have been alive at the time that the call was made from Mr Stojanovski's mobile phone to (the family doctor)," she said.
A lawyer acting for Mr Stojanovski submitted that the police investigation into his wife's death did not start well because it only began once the doctor's autopsy findings did not fit with the weightlifting story.
It was five months before Mr Stojanovski, Vasko and their mother Pisana were arrested and interviewed by police.
On Thursday, Ms Hinchey said she could make no finding of criminality on the part of Mr Stojanovksi, Vasko or Pisana.
However she noted they were the only people at the house at the time and that there were no signs of forced entry to the premises.
Mr Stojanovski was excused from giving evidence during the inquest after saying his answers could tend to incriminate him.