Saturday 25 February 2017

Chef kept his wife's body in freezer for years

Husband admits killing woman with griddle pan

Shenai Raif in London

A CHEF killed his wife with a cast iron pan and kept her body in a freezer for three years, the Old Bailey court in London heard yesterday.

Peter Wallner moved wife Melanie's frozen body from the freezer in the garden shed to a wheelie bin when he moved out of their house last year.

But dustmen refused to take the plastic bin because it was too heavy, and the landlord saw her ankle when he opened it up, the jury heard.

Wallner, who had a succession of girlfriends after his wife's death, moved to Malta with his new love Lilia Fenech but was arrested on his return.

He told police his wife had attacked him and he hit her on the head with a griddle pan.

But Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, said Ms Wallner (30) was found to have been wearing an eye mask -- indicating she could have been asleep when she was attacked.

Wallner told police there had been a great deal of blood on their mattress.

The prosecution said Wallner slept with another woman, wedding planner Emma Harrison, on the mattress the following night in August 2006, while Ms Wallner's body lay in the house.

"He apparently had no qualms about sleeping with Emma in the same bed where his wife had died not 24 hours earlier," said Ms Cheema.

Wallner had bought Ms Harrison champagne at a romantic dinner to celebrate his 31st birthday.

He went on to spin a web of lies, sending texts and using Ms Wallner's credit card, before claiming a week later she died suddenly of a brain aneurysm, the court heard.

He held a memorial service for her and put ashes from a barbecue into an urn, claiming she had been cremated, said Ms Cheema.

"He killed his wife with at least one deliberate blow using a heavy cast iron pan.

"He then ordered a freezer from Argos and when it arrived a few days later, he put her body into the freezer.

"He left her there for nearly three years, telling friends, family and work colleagues and anyone else who inquired about her that she had died suddenly from natural causes," she said.

Heartless

"For the next months and years he spun tale after tale about the circumstances of the sudden death. It was a heartless and sustained effort to stop them discovering the truth, and how it added to their sorrow one can only imagine.

"He organised a memorial service to commemorate his wife's memory and bought an urn and filled it with wood ashes from his barbecue. He played the part of the grieving husband."

Wallner (34), formerly of Hamilton Avenue, Cobham, Surrey, denies murder. Ms Cheema said German-born Wallner admitted manslaughter, claiming he had not intended to do her serious harm.

Wallner, who had claimed his wife struck him first with a rolling pin, was no longer claiming he acted in self-defence, said Ms Cheema.

He had also claimed she stabbed him in the thigh with a steak knife, but investigations showed he was lying.

The case continues.

Irish Independent

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