An Illawarra man will stand trial over the death of his sex worker girlfriend, whose hog-tied body was found upside down in a wheelie bin inside her Woonona home in 2011.
David William Bagster briefly fronted Wollongong Local Court via video link from jail on Wednesday and was committed to stand trial on the charge of manslaughter, eight months after his arrest and nine years after police discovered Valmai Jane Birch's decomposing body in her Woods Avenue apartment on March 22.
Police were called to the home by neighbours who reported a foul stench coming from inside the property. Birch is believed to have died up to two weeks earlier.
Bagster was interviewed at the time but released without charge. However, police re-arrested him at his Kiama Heights home last October and formally charged him with manslaughter.
Police will allege they discovered Bagster's fingerprints on the inside of the upper lip of the recycling bin - a location consistent with the bin being grabbed to lift or manoeuvre it when it couldn't be pushed or pulled.
Bagster claimed he occasionally moved Birch's wheelie bin when washing it and must have left his prints on it.
At a previous court hearing, prosecutors said Birch met Bagster through a mutual friend in May 2010 and the pair allegedly became an item, but police claim their relationship was characterised by "drug use, arguments and physical and sexual violence".
Police will allege Birch repeatedly confided in friends and associates before her death that Bagster, was "into bondage and discipline" and often tied her up for long periods of time and restrained her against her will.
However, Bagster denied they were together when interviewed. He admitted they regularly engaged in "group sex" and threesomes, but claimed he'd never tied her up or assaulted her.
Bagster will appear in Wollongong District Court at the end of July for a trial date to be set.