Police charge man with manslaughter over 2011 death of Valmai Birch near Wollongong

Homicide Squad detectives have charged a man with manslaughter over the death of woman near Wollongong more than eight years ago.

Emergency services were called to a unit on Woods Avenue, Woonona, about 10pm on Monday 22 March 2011, after residents reported smelling a foul odour coming from the unit.

Officers attended and located the body of a woman inside a wheelie bin in the property’s bathroom.

She was formally identified as 34-year-old Valmai Jane Birch.

A post-mortem examination was inconclusive; however, the death was deemed suspicious.

Detectives from the Homicide Squad and Wollongong Police District established Strike Force Gareth to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death.

During the investigation, Strike Force Gareth detectives requested the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), review their brief of evidence.

Following advice provided to police by the ODPP, and following further inquiries, strike force detectives, assisted by Southern Region Operations Support Group, arrested a 52-year-old man at a home at Kiama about 7.30am today (Tuesday 1 October 2019).

He was taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station and charged with manslaughter.

Police will allege in court that the man was known to Ms Birch and there was a history of domestic violence between the pair.

The man was refused bail to appear at Wollongong Local Court today (Tuesday 1 October 2019).

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