Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Thursday, 11 June 2009 13:10 UK

Husband held in bin murder probe

Melanie Wallner
Melanie Wallner's body is thought to have been in the bin for three weeks

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife, whose body was found in a wheelie bin in Surrey.

Melanie Wallner, who was born in 1976, could have died between August 2006 and May 2009. Police have not ruled out that her body might have been frozen.

Her remains were found surrounded by rubbish in the bin outside Hamilton Avenue in Cobham last Saturday.

Peter Wallner, 33, was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Wednesday after a police search for him.

The unemployed German-born chef contacted Surrey Police on Tuesday while staying with his 23-year-old partner Lilia Fenech and her family in Malta.

'Varying accounts'

A post-mortem examination revealed Mrs Wallner suffered a serious head injury, but it did not establish a cause of death.

Her body is thought to have been in the bin for three weeks before it was found, but it remains unclear when Mrs Wallner died, police said.

A Surrey Police spokesperson said: "Speculation about Melanie Wallner's whereabouts over the last few years could be unhelpful as we currently have a person being interviewed.

"However we are considering all possibilities as to why it has not been possible to narrow down the time of death."

Some had thought she moved away from Surrey in the last few years and others believed she may have died in 2006
Det Ch Insp Maria Woodall

Mrs Wallner was identified using dental records. Her next-of-kin have been informed.

Det Ch Insp Maria Woodall said: "We have received varying accounts from Melanie's family, friends and neighbours about her recent history.

"Some had thought she moved away from Surrey in the last few years and others believed she may have died in 2006.

"I am now asking for people's help in building a picture of the last years of her life.

"Specifically, I would like to hear from anyone we haven't yet spoken to who has seen Melanie since August 2006, or people who knew her well shortly before this date."

Inquiries extended

She added: "Melanie's family are obviously very shocked at this time and we are determined, with the public's help, to find them the truth about her death."

Forensics experts are still searching the property and house-to-house inquires have been extended, a police spokesperson said.

Peter Wallner
Peter Wallner moved out of the house before the body was found

Mr Wallner and Ms Fenech rented the property in Hamilton Avenue until about three weeks before the body was found.

Dustmen had refused to empty the wheelie bin and told council bosses that the container was too heavy to lift.

Elmbridge council said it contacted the owner of the relevant house in Cobham after binmen reported the issue.

The owner told police on Saturday there was a foot sticking up in the bin.

On Monday, police said Mr Wallner hired a white Volkswagen 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.

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