Killer who froze wife's body gets life in jail
A CHEF was given a life sentence with a minimum of 20 years in a British court yesterday for killing his wife with a griddle pan and hiding her body in a freezer for three years.
Peter Wallner thought wife Melanie stood in the way of his womanising. So he battered her with the cast-iron pan as she slept at their home in Surrey, south-east England, in August 2006, the court at the Old Bailey heard. Her body was later found in a wheelie bin.
Judge Stephen Kramer told Wallner: "Your acts have rightly been described as despicable and appalling.
"You doubtless thought the body would be loaded into a dustcart and compacted so that what you had done would never be discovered."
Wallner (34) showed no emotion and no remorse as he was found guilty of murder.
But just before he was sentenced, defence counsel Nicholas Griffiths said he had been instructed by Wallner to apologise.
He said: "My client has asked me to say he sincerely apologises to the family for what he recognises as an awful thing he did, and for the pain and hurt he caused."
Wallner had tried to persuade family and friends that his wife died from natural causes -- even presenting them with an urn full of fake ashes from a barbecue.
He placed his wedding ring with "Melanie" inscribed on it into the urn before it was buried on her father's farm in South Africa.
Immediately after the verdict, South African Petrus Van Der Merwe angrily hit out at Wallner for treating his daughter's body like "rubbish".
He said: "Melanie wasn't rubbish -- anything but. Peter Wallner thought it good to gruesomely murder her in the most unthinkable manner and freeze her in his property for three years.
"After that he threw her away... like trash, like rubbish in a wheelie bin."
He added in a statement to the judge: "It haunts me every day to think that, while I was staying in Melanie's house after her 'supposed passing', she was right there in a freezer.
"That thought eats away at my soul every day of my life."
The court was told that Wallner placed the body in a freezer in the garden shed and dumped it in the wheelie bin when he left the country with new girlfriend Lilia Fenech.
But dustmen refused to take the bin from in front of the house in Hamilton Avenue, Cobham, because it was too heavy.
The landlord saw an ankle when he looked inside.
Detective Superintendent Maria Woodall said after the verdict: "His (Wallner's) lack of remorse for what he did to Melanie knew no bounds and he told lie after lie in a heartless attempt to evade capture."