A WOMAN found dead in a wheelie bin in a suspected murder has been named.

Police sealed off an alleyway in the Landport Road area of Lewes after a body was found in a bin in undergrowth by a dog walker on Wednesday.

Officers have launched a murder inquiry after tests showed she had suffered a “siginifcant blow to the head”.

Now it can be revealed that the victim was Nicola Stevenson, 39, who lives nearby in Stansfield Road.

Neighbours reported that she had not been seen on the estate for several weeks, and there were rumours she had moved away.

She is a mother-of-two, and her children have been informed.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday said a 41-year-old man was arrested in Lewes yesterday on suspicion of murder.

Meanwhile a second man aged 37 was also arrested on Thursday night in a car park in Eastbourne on suspicion of murder.

DCI Friday his thoughts are with Nicola’s family, and said officers are “determined” to seek justice.

He said: “Nicola died following a significant blow to the head. Her body had been placed in the wheelie bin and dumped in the undergrowth and we want to establish when that happened and when she was last seen alive.”

The Argus:

The bin is believed to have been in the alley on November 1, sparking police door to door enquiries.

DCI Friday thanked those who have called in with information, and wants to track down anyone who saw Nicola during the first week of October.

The news has sparked shock in the community.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, reported hearing screams behind her home late one night several weeks ago, near to where the police cordon remains in place. 

She said: “It has been horrendous. We spoke when she first moved here about a year ago.

The Argus:

“We thought she had gone away, and haven’t seen her for four or five weeks.

“A few weeks ago we heard screams in the early hours of the morning, we thought nothing of it, as it might have been people leaving the pubs.”

One resident in Stansfield Road said: “It is shocking, you never think something like this is going to happen.

“I used to play in the park near where it happened and I went to the old school there when I was younger.

“It is scary that a body was found there, I’ve lived here for my whole life and nothing like this has ever happened before.”

The Argus:

One man, living nearby in Stansfield Road said: "Police have been going up and down the street, asking us about a wheelie bin and about Nicola Stevenson.

"Where they found the body couldn't be more than 40 yards away from where there was the big bonfire."

One pensioner in the road said: "I have lived in Lewes for my whole life, and in 74 years we have never had anything like this. It is unbelievable, you don't expect anything like that to happen."

Police said both men arrested remain in police custody for questioning.

Anyone with information should call 101 and quote Operation Stafford.