Police appeal over Woonona wheelie bin murder

Police at the scene where Woonona mother Valmai Birch was found in her Woonona apartment in 2011. Picture by ORLANDO CHIODO.

Police at the scene where Woonona mother Valmai Birch was found in her Woonona apartment in 2011. Picture by ORLANDO CHIODO.

Police have released images of a Woonona mother whose body was found stuffed in a wheelie bin inside her home in 2011.

In an appeal for information about the three year old case, police have called for information from anyone who may be able to assist with the investigation 34-year-old Valmai Jane Birch’s death.

She was found in her Woonona unit block, on Woods Avenue, at about 10pm on March 22, 2011 when residents reported smelling a foul odour coming from a flat.

Wollongong police officers forced entry to the unit and discovered her body hidden inside a wheelie bin in the property’s bathroom.

Detectives from the Homicide Squad and police from Wollongong Local Area Command formed Strike Force Gareth to investigate Ms Birch’s death, and are re-appealing to members of the public to help them solve the case.

As part of their appeal, police have released two photos of Ms Birch, in the hope they will prompt the memories of people who have may have seen Ms Birch in the weeks or days before her death.

Police have called for information from anyone who may be able to assist with the investigation into 34-year-old Valmai Jane Birch’s death.

Police have called for information from anyone who may be able to assist with the investigation into 34-year-old Valmai Jane Birch’s death.

The images, taken on Wednesday March 9, 2011, were sourced from CCTV cameras at Wollongong railway station.

They are among the last images taken of Ms Birch before her death.

Detective Acting Inspector Darryn Gunn from the Homicide Squad said police would like to hear from anyone who may be able to help with the investigation into Ms Birch’s death.

Police have called for information from anyone who may be able to assist with the investigation into 34-year-old Valmai Jane Birch’s death.

Police have called for information from anyone who may be able to assist with the investigation into 34-year-old Valmai Jane Birch’s death.

We believe Ms Birch was murdered between Wednesday March 9 and Monday March 22, 2011,’’ he said.

"We’re particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw or spoke to Ms Birch during February or March 2011.’’

‘‘It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the information may seem, it could help us crack this case and bring whoever is responsible for Ms Birch’s death to justice.’’

‘‘Please remember, information can be provided anonymously and will be treated confidentially.’’

The morning after Ms Birch's body was discovered, Wollongong crime manager Inspector Joe Mura said her body may have been in the bin for "a number of weeks".

Neighbours remembered Ms Birch as a pleasant woman but said they believed she had had problems.

Ms Birch is survived by her two young sons.

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