A JURY has been sworn in to hear evidence in the trial of a man accused of murdering a woman found dead in a wheelie bin.

Richard Canlin is alleged to have killed Nicola Stevenson in Lewes.

Ms Stevenson was a 39-year-old mother of two children, who lived in a flat in Stansfield Road on the Landport estate in the town.

Her body was found by a passerby on land off Landport Road at 12.30pm on November 14.

Canlin, of no fixed address, is accused of murder between October 10 and November 13 last year.

The Argus:

Police at the scene in Lewes

The 42-year-old appeared in the dock at Hove Crown Court today.

He wore a grey jumper, grey trousers and a face mask as he sat in the dock alongside a security guard.

When asked to confirm his identity, he did not speak but simply nodded.

He removed his mask to allow jury members to see if they recognised him before his trial starts.

A jury of eight men and four women were sworn in before Judge Shani Barnes.
She told them safety steps have been put in place over coronavirus, including protective screens in the courtroom.

The jury was told that Caroline Carberry QC will open the case for the prosecution tomorrow, assisted by junior barrister Nicholas Hearn.

The Argus:

Police at the scene in Lewes

Canlin is represented by Jeremy Wainwright QC and junior barrister Andrew Horsell.

Judge Barnes told the jury that the case would be heard in a “calm and sensitive” manner.

She said: “When you received your summons here today for the serious job of a murder trial, some of your hearts may have sank. I reassure you the Crown’s job is to make sure that this evidence is presented in a way that is calm, sensitive and sensible, without drama.

“Some of you may be concerned about whether you will have to see the deceased and injuries inflicted on her.

“These days we don’t show post-mortem photographs, we have digital representations rather than showing the injuries and wounds.

“Having said that, some of them [the digital representations] are quite realistic, that’s important for you to see where the injuries were inflicted.

“This is not like a television show which is dramatic and frightening as can be. You are not here to be terrified by any of this.”

The Argus:

The body of Nicola Stevenson was found

In November police set up a wide cordon on the estate and launched Operation Stafford, a murder inquiry.

Detectives and officers went door to door as forensics experts were called in.

One neighbour 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.”

Canlin denies murder. 

The case is due to start tomorrow.

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