Man sought in body-in-bin case contacts police

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The Independent Online

A man being sought by detectives after a woman's body was found dumped in a wheelie bin has made contact with officers, police said today.

Peter Wallner, 33, and his partner, 23-year-old Lilia Fenech, had not been seen since the badly decomposed body was discovered hidden among rubbish outside a suburban home in Cobham, Surrey, on Saturday afternoon.

The body, believed to be that of a white woman in her 30s, was only discovered after a human foot was spotted protruding from the bin of the semi-detached house.

Mr Wallner, from Germany, rented the property in Hamilton Avenue until roughly three weeks ago.

Police said today that Mr Wallner was staying with Miss Fenech and her family in Malta when he became aware that police wanted to speak to him and contacted them yesterday.

He is now making arrangements to return to the UK as soon as possible, said a spokesman for Surrey Police.

The senior investigation officer, Detective Chief Inspector Maria Woodall, said: "We appreciate the assistance of the media and the public in helping us locate Mr Wallner. He has now made contact with us and is keen to return to the UK to help us in our investigation.

"As he has now been located, we ask that his privacy - and that of Ms Fenech and her family - is respected."

On Monday, police said the former chef, now unemployed, had hired a white VW Crafter van on 15 May.

The vehicle, carrying two people, was spotted by cameras on the M25 in Kent and close to the docks at Dover two days later.

Officers were called to the Cobham house by a woman at about 3.20pm on Saturday.

A spokesman said: "Scenes of crime officers carefully emptied the bin to preserve forensic opportunities, recovering the full intact body of a white woman, believed to be in her 30s, which had been surrounded by rubbish."

A post-mortem examination conducted at the weekend proved inconclusive.

It revealed signs of a serious head injury, but could not confirm this had caused the woman's death.

Sources said it was believed the body had been in the bin for about three weeks.

Inquiries are still under way to establish the identity of the victim.

The semi-detached house, which has an estate agent's For Sale board outside and is just metres from a children's play area, was taped off and guarded by two officers.

Neighbours yesterday said they were "shocked" by the grim find.