A man has appeared in court after being charged with preventing the lawful burial of a 17-year-old girl who was found dead in a clingfilm-wrapped wardrobe.

Ashley Foster, 24, from Dudley, was charged after the remains of a teenage girl, believed to be Megan Louise Bills from Stourbridge, West Midlands, were found on Thursday (4 May).

Although formal identification is yet to take place, West Midlands Police believe that it was Bills' remains that were discovered in a house in the Brierley Hill area.

Foster, of no fixed abode, appeared at Dudley magistrate's court on Monday (8 May) where he was not asked to enter a plea.

He was charged with preventing lawful and decent burial between 16 April and 4 May. Bills' next-of-kin have been informed.

Police visited the address after neighbours complained of an odd smell coming from the property, with officers seen removing bags of evidence afterwards.

Maxine Jarrousse-Jones, prosecuting, said according to the Guardian that when police turned up at the flat, they "found a double wardrobe wrapped in clingfilm".

She added: "The wardrobe was opened and a young female was found inside, deceased, and had been there a considerable amount of time – at least a couple of weeks."

Sky News reported that the cause of death is not yet known and a post-mortem carried out on Saturday was "inconclusive".

Bills' family said in a statement that they were "devastated" by her death. It read: "We appreciate the support we have been given by our family, friends and the police.

"Whilst nothing can fill the huge gap in our family life that Megan's passing has left, we trust that in time we will have answers that will help us understand why this dreadful event has occurred. We would request that we are left alone to grieve at this emotional time. Rest in peace princess."

The investigating officer at the constabulary, DI Caroline Corfield, said: "Our hearts go out to Megan's family as they come to terms with this dreadful news and they have asked that they are given the privacy to do so.

"Our investigation is continuing as we work to establish the circumstances of Megan's death so that we can provide her family with the answers they need.

"I would ask anyone with information about Megan's last known movements to come forward."

Foster is set to appear before Wolverhampton crown court on 5 June for a plea and case management hearing.

Information can be given to police on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.