A woman found hog-tied and decomposing in a wheelie bin had been in a nine-month long relationship that was marred by "aggression, threats and assaults", a court has heard.
The Crown prosecutor in a Wollongong District Court manslaughter trial alleges Valmai Jane Birch's partner, David William Bagster, would her up and put her in confined spaces.
It is alleged the 34-year-old woman told friends of the abuse she suffered, including showing them bruises and marks on her wrists from being hog-tied.
Bagster, 54, is accused of unlawfully killing Ms Birch however has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge.
Police found Ms Birch's hog-tied body, face down in a water-filled council wheelie bin placed in the recess of her shower after neighbours reported smelling an odour coming from her unit in March 2011.
During his opening address, the Crown prosecutor revealed new details about the last day Ms Birch was seen alive on March 9 before her body was discovered on March 22.
He said Ms Birch's parents died when she was a teenager and she became involved in illegal drugs at the age of 17.
The prosecutor explained how Ms Birch tried on several occasions to get clean from drugs with the help of her aunt in Newcastle however upon returning to Wollongong resumed taking drugs.
Ms Birch was a prostitute for 15 years in the Port Kembla area and began a relationship with Bagster, who grew up in Kiama, in May 2010.
The pair lived in several locations and when Ms Birch secured a Housing Trust apartment in Woonona, Bagster would often stay there.
The prosecutor alleged the couple's relationship was marred by repeated aggression, threats, assaults, with Bagster tying up Ms Birch and putting her in confined spaces.
The Crown alleges Ms Birch told friends of the abuse she suffered, including showing them bruises and marks on her wrists from being hogtied.
Ms Birch's movements on the last day she was seen alive were largely captured on CCTV footage when she and Bagster went to Wollongong train station, before she was seen alone walking past Liquorland in Woonona at 10.46am.
She was then seen at the news agency and post office where staff reported she appeared drug-affected.
The Crown alleges a neighbour reportedly helped Ms Birch to her Woods Avenue unit after she passed out on the street before a neighbour allegedly saw Bagster at the unit.
The Crown alleges neighbours saw Bagster at Ms Birch's front door, "fiddling" with the lock on March 10.
The prosecution alleges Bagster went to the Woonona unit on March 21, reportedly concerned for Ms Birch's welfare, where he spoke to a neighbour saying the smell was probably garbage.
Ms Birch's body was later discovered after neighbours called police, reporting a bad smell coming from inside the unit.
Police allegedly found a fan in the lounge room and the exhaust fan in the kitchen were both on before finding Ms Birch's body.
The Crown will allege Bagster wrote a five-page note, known as the Dear Jane note, in Ms Birch's bedroom where he explained the events of March 9 and expressed his love for her.
The Crown alleges Bagster's note contained falsities about other people being in the unit in an attempt to draw suspicion away from himself.
The jury will hear details of how the post-mortem examination was inconclusive in determining the cause of Ms Birch's death.
However, the report revealed positional asphyxia, drowning, neck compression, drug overdose or a combination of two or more could have been the cause of death.
The Crown alleges Ms Birch did not die from an "innocent misadventure or overdose" but from an unlawful or dangerous act carried out by Bagster.
The prosecutor said the case against Bagster was "largely circumstantial" and would rely on evidence about the alleged nature of their relationship, which the Crown submits was volatile and involved physical and verbal altercations.
The Crown alleges the evidence will show Bagster had a "pattern of behaviour" that involved being violent towards Ms Birch.
Defence barrister Scott Fraser briefly addressed the jury where he said the Crown's suggestion that the couple's relationship was marred by "domestic violence" would be strongly disputed.
He also encouraged the jury to keep an open mind about witnesses' reliability, suggesting they may have an "axe to grind or other motive to point the finger at Bagster".
Mr Fraser also urged the jury to not prejudice his client or other witnesses about their drug use, noting it was a significant feature of the case.
The trial continues.
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