Man who murdered mum in hammer attack and dumped body in wheelie bin jailed for life
A man who murdered a disabled mother-of-two in a frenzied hammer attack before dumping her body in a wheelie bin has been jailed for life.
Richard Canlin, 42, brutally attacked his landlady Nicola Stevenson in her bedroom with the claw hammer she kept by her for protection.
Nicola’s battered body was not discovered for five weeks after the savage attack in Lewes, East Sussex. Her body was discovered on November 13, 2019, in a wheelie bin in shrubbery.
The mum, from Edinburgh, suffered at least 11 hammer blows to the head and forensics said the attack was so ferocious her skull had almost split in two.
The jury in the trial were previously told he was convicted of killing his own dog in a similar way to Nicola.
After a two week trial, Canlin was found guilty of Nicola’s murder and jailed for 22 years.
Nicola’s parents said in a statement: “We wish to thank Sussex Police and their colleagues in the forensic services for all their hard work and painstaking investigations which allowed the Crown Prosecution Service to bring forward a successful prosecution and provide justice for Nicola.
“We are also very grateful for all the support provided by the police and, of course, by all our family and friends throughout a long and difficult year since Nicola’s death.”
Canlin admitted in 2013 he battered his Staffordshire Bull terrier Daisy and hid her body in a holdall, the Daily Record reports.
Examination of blood stains on the inside of a suitcase showed Canlin attempted to use it to hide Nicola’s body before dumping her in the wheelie bin.
Unemployed Canlin was homeless when he met Nicola and the pair used her flat to take drugs.
Canlin had moved in with her just a few weeks before the vicious attack.
She told a friend around lunchtime on October 10 last year she wanted Canlin out and he was kicking off.
But Canlin refused to leave and brutally attacked Nicola, who was born with a form of dwarfism and used a mobility scooter.
Canlin’s DNA was found on the hammer despite his efforts to wipe it clean.
Within hours, Canlin was filmed at a cashpoint in the town waiting for her benefits to clear.
He raided her bank account for hundreds of pounds in disability benefits.
Canlin continued to collect her prescriptions and withdraw cash from her accounts, buying himself a new snooker table and Xbox.
Callous Canlin never reported her missing.
Police found a bloody mattress and the murder weapon in wheelie bins outside the one bedroom, ground floor flat the day before they would have been collected.
Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, who led the investigation, said: “Our thoughts at this time are with Nicola’s family and friends and we hope that we have provided some answers as to how Nicola met her death, and crucially who was responsible.
“Ultimately, we sought to identify who committed what is the most serious crime of all.
“I would like to thank the jury at Hove Crown Court for their time, commitment and due diligence in bringing about this verdict.
“Canlin killed Nicola in a brutal attack. She had allowed him to stay at her address, and when she asked him to leave he took advantage of her kindness, and attacked her about the head with a hammer, killing her in her own home.
“He then disposed of her body in a callous way, dumping her in a bin, in the nearby park.
“Unbelievably, he then carried on as if nothing had happened, assuming Nicola’s life, spending her money on things for himself, living in her property and telling friends she had gone away.”
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