When Valmai Jane Birch was allegedly killed by her boyfriend and her body stuffed into a wheelie bin, she was not the first woman in her suburb to have her body allegedly disposed of in the same grisly way.

Birch, whose ex-boyfriend has now been charged with her 2011 manslaughter, is just one of five people whose suspicious or mysterious deaths have blighted the same suburban block over a decade.

The deaths are in no way linked and Birch's ex-boyfriend is not suspected of being involved in the other incidents.

Valmai Birch before she fell into drugs and prostitution. Photo / NSW Police
Valmai Birch before she fell into drugs and prostitution. Photo / NSW Police

Those other deaths plus an alleged "satanic" killing of a baby and a suicide have disturbed residents of the otherwise quiet neighbourhood.

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The block of around 100 houses along a kilometre of road which encompasses Cotterill Avenue, Woods Avenue and Wynn Street lies near the railway station in Woonona, a northern beachside suburb of Wollongong, 70km south of Sydney.

Since 2008, along the one residential block, there has been the brutal murder of a teenage girl and then 18 months later, the death of Birch, both of whose decomposed bodies were later found dumped in wheelie bins.

A former boyfriend has now been charged with the manslaughter of Valmai Jane Birch whose body was found inside a wheelie bin in the flats. Photo / News Limited
A former boyfriend has now been charged with the manslaughter of Valmai Jane Birch whose body was found inside a wheelie bin in the flats. Photo / News Limited

It started with the death and possible murder of a man who died in a suspicious fire in a house at 27 Cotterill Avenue, Woonona.

Then in 2014, 17 doors up at 61 Cotterill Avenue, 36-year-old Renae Micallef was found dead beside her eight-month-old old baby son, Dylan.

Miraculously, even though Micallef had died five days earlier, baby Dylan was alive.

One neighbour said another death had occurred on Cotterill Street when "a woman gave birth and immediately killed her baby because she thought it was a demon".

And on March 14 this year, 52-year-old Ronald Quirk, left home on Cotterill Avenue in a blue sedan.

He was reported missing by a relative who saw him drive off.

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Body in bin death #1: Louise O'Brien, 18, at 26 Wynn Avenue, Woonona

By the time Louise Marie O'Brien went to live with mostly strangers at 26 Wynn Street, Woonona, her life was already tragic and unhappy.

Louise O'Brien had a short, unhappy life before she was abused, beaten and killed at Wynn Street, Woonona, her body dumped in a wheelie bin and buried 3km away. Photo / News.com.au
Louise O'Brien had a short, unhappy life before she was abused, beaten and killed at Wynn Street, Woonona, her body dumped in a wheelie bin and buried 3km away. Photo / News.com.au

The petite teenager, who neighbours later described as "fragile", had become estranged from her own mother.

Befriended by carnival worker, Tracey Taylor, Louise moved into the Housing Department home which already housed eight of Taylor's children.

In the cramped house, Louise was treated like "a dogsbody" by Taylor's 73-year-old mother, Patricia Goddard, Wollongong Local Court heart during Goddard's 2012 committal hearing.

Louise O'Brien, 18, was treated like an animal before her death. Photo / News.com.au
Louise O'Brien, 18, was treated like an animal before her death. Photo / News.com.au

The court heard a witness told police that Goddard shaved Louise's head, made the girl eat from a dirty bowl, shoved pepper, salt and sauce into her mouth and even forced her to eat her own scabs off the floor.

The same witness also alleged Goddard had tied Louise's hands to a chair when the teen complained about washing up and forced her to drink toilet water.

Louise's head was shaved after the 18-year-old had tried cutting her own hair.

Crown Prosecutor Nic Borosh told the committal Louise died on or about October 12, 2008, after Goddard struck her in a burst of anger with a hammer, hitting Louise in the jaw.

The teen suffered a subdural haemorrhage to her brain.

Borosh told the court that as Louise's condition deteriorated, on advice, Goddard placed her in a cold bath to try and revive her.

The court was told Louise died sometime later and a decision was allegedly made not to alert the authorities but instead, dispose of her body.

Police at 26 Wynn Street Woonona, where Louise O'Brien was killed with a hammer and her body buried 3km away in a wheelie bin. Photo / News Limited
Police at 26 Wynn Street Woonona, where Louise O'Brien was killed with a hammer and her body buried 3km away in a wheelie bin. Photo / News Limited

O'Brien was dumped into a red wheelie bin and taken more than 3km to the backyard of Goddard's home on Chounding Crescent, Bellambi.

Borosh claimed another person paid a man $80 to "dig a hole to bury a dead dog". However, Goddard later said she spent two days digging a 2m-deep hole before shoving Louise O'Brien's body in the bin and into the dirt.

O'Brien's grave was in fact just five doors up from the home where her estranged mother was living.

Back at Wynn Street, Woonona, neighbours assumed Louise had "run away to join the circus".

In March 2011, acting on a tip off, police dug up the back yard of the Chounding Crescent house.

They found O'Brien's remains inside the bin which was dug in, two metres between the fibro house and a timber fence.

Police say the girl's mother Kathy McDonald was in "shock and horror" to learn this, believing that Louise was somewhere, still alive.

A neighbour of the Wynn Street, Woonona house later described Louise as "always so lovely". However, although another said shortly before she vanished, Louise had looked "skinny" and "like she was drunk … she couldn't walk properly … she didn't say anything, she just shook her head".

In 2012, Patricia Goddard pleaded guilty to O'Brien's manslaughter.

Suspicious house fire: Ross Wilton at 27 Cotterill Avenue, Woonona

In March, 2008, Ross Wilton was still broken-hearted after the separation from his wife several years earlier.

Ross Wilton had escaped from an unhappy marriage before he died in a suspicious fire which police at the time believed could have been an arson murder. Photo / News.com.au
Ross Wilton had escaped from an unhappy marriage before he died in a suspicious fire which police at the time believed could have been an arson murder. Photo / News.com.au

Consoling himself with heavy drinking, the father-of-three was diagnosed with potentially terminal liver damage in January of that year.

On the night of March 4, the pensioner was drinking with another man inside his fibro Housing Department home on Cotterill Avenue, Woonona.

Around 2am, neighbours noticed black smoke billowing from the house and called the fire brigade.

Fireman found Wilton's body inside the charred house and police established a crime scene, confirming the fire as suspicious.

Police later said Wilton may have been murdered.

Ross Wilton's house was burned down at Cotterill Avenue, Woonona and is now a vacant block. Image / Google Maps
Ross Wilton's house was burned down at Cotterill Avenue, Woonona and is now a vacant block. Image / Google Maps

A man staying with Wilton was treated for smoke inhalation at Wollongong Hospital. He was later interviewed by Wollongong detectives and released.

Friends described Wilton as "a beautiful soul" and neighbours along Cotterill Avenue were shocked and saddened by the death of the "friendly and sociable" man.

Body in bin death #2: Valmai Jane Birch, 34, at Flat 5/1 Woods Avenue, Woonona

Valmai Jane Birch already had a drug problem when she moved into the townhouse on Woods Avenue, Woonona.

Neighbours noticed her "spaced out" on the street.

The body of Valmai Birch was found in a wheelie bin. Photo / News.com.au
The body of Valmai Birch was found in a wheelie bin. Photo / News.com.au

But the 34-year-old was reportedly trying to cover from a heroin addiction which had led her into a life of prostitution.

In early March 2011, neighbours recall hearing noises coming from her home.

Some time later they noticed a strong smell coming from the flat Birch occupied, and around 10pm on March 22, 2011, police from the Wollongong Local Area Command attended the unit block.

Inside, officers found the remains of a woman in a wheelie bin inside the flat's bathroom.

Forensic examiners determined the body had been in the bin for several weeks. although a post mortem was unable to determine how she died.

Forensic police at the scene on Woods Avenue, Woonona where Valmai Jane Birch's body was discovered after neighbours noticed a foul odour. Photo / News Limited
Forensic police at the scene on Woods Avenue, Woonona where Valmai Jane Birch's body was discovered after neighbours noticed a foul odour. Photo / News Limited

They later released what they believe are the last photographs of Birch alive, caught on CCTV at Wollongong Railway station, on March 9, 2011.

They appealed to anyone who may have spoken to or seen Birch around that time.

Early on Tuesday morning, police arrested 52-year-old David William Bagster at Kiama, south of Wollongong, and charged him with the manslaughter of his ex-girlfriend, Birch.

Detective Acting Superintendent Jason Dickson told Nine Newspapers that at the time of the alleged offence Birch and Bagster "were estranged from each other, although they were still in contact and associating".

A former boyfriend has now been charged with the manslaughter of Valmai Jane Birch whose body was found inside a wheelie bin in the flats. Photo / News Limited
A former boyfriend has now been charged with the manslaughter of Valmai Jane Birch whose body was found inside a wheelie bin in the flats. Photo / News Limited

Police alleged their 12-month relationship had been characterised by drug use and a "volatile history of domestic violence".

Bagster appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody until November 27.

Mother death, baby miracle: Renae Micallef, 36, at 61 Cotterill Avenue, Woonona

Residents on Cotterill Avenue, Woonona woke on the morning of Tuesday, September 16, 2014 to find their street was a crime scene.

Baby Dylan Micallef was miraculously found alive with his mother five days after she died from an apparent drug overdose in 2014. Photo / News.com.au
Baby Dylan Micallef was miraculously found alive with his mother five days after she died from an apparent drug overdose in 2014. Photo / News.com.au

Police had breached the front door of the fibro public housing home of Renae Micallef after authorities reported the mother of a baby boy had not responded to a note left by authorities five days earlier.

The neighbours were familiar with Renae, who was often seen in the street, chatting or walking to the shops with her infant son, Dylan.

The 36-year-old had lived in the small home for several years, following a motorbike accident that left her with chronic back pain, a limp and an addiction to pain killers.

The devoted mother had impressed on her neighbours that she had turned her life around.

She had recently spent up at Big W with government baby bonus money, buying numerous items for her son.

Baby Dylan was found alive five days after his mother died from drugs at this house on Cotterill Avenue, Woonona. Photo / News.com.au
Baby Dylan was found alive five days after his mother died from drugs at this house on Cotterill Avenue, Woonona. Photo / News.com.au

But on the morning in question, police found Micallef dead on the floor of the house.

Alongside her was her eight-month-old Dylan, alive, but in a deteriorated condition.

Rushed to a Wollongong hospital, then transferred to the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick, Dylan made a steady recovery.

Neighbours were shocked.

"She'd come back from a shopping spree with lots of bags, all things for the baby," a neighbour who did not want to be identified said.

Renae Micallef had just spent her baby bonus on items for eight-month-old Dylan when she was found dead at Woonona. Photo / Supplied
Renae Micallef had just spent her baby bonus on items for eight-month-old Dylan when she was found dead at Woonona. Photo / Supplied

"We knew she'd had problems, but she looked really happy."

"She was doing really well and now this," another neighbour said.

"We're all just stunned. It was an accident. There's no way she would have left her little boy on his own.

"She was very happy. We're all devastated."

Body found 30km away: Ronald Quirk, Cotterill Avenue, Woonona

On March 14 this year, father-of-five Ronald Quirk, left in a blue sedan from a home on Cotterill Avenue.

Ronald Quirk, 52, left home on Cotterill Avenue on March 14, 2019, and his body found dumped at Appin five days later. Photo / Supplied
Ronald Quirk, 52, left home on Cotterill Avenue on March 14, 2019, and his body found dumped at Appin five days later. Photo / Supplied

A relative saw him drive off in the vehicle and the 52-year-old was later reported missing.

Six days later, Quirk's body was found near Appin, on a trail at the entrance of the Dharawal National Park, around 30km north of where he was last seen.

Police reported that initial inquiries suggested the circumstances surrounding the death were not suspicious.