THE MAN accused of killing a woman in a frenzied claw hammer attack stole her benefits to buy himself a snooker table and Xbox after she died, a court heard.

Richard Canlin is accused of the “brutal” murder of Nicola Stevenson at her flat in Lewes.

The 42-year-old allegedly spun a web of lies in a bid to hide his crime, a jury was told.

It included telling Nicola’s friends she had moved out and gone to Scotland, and telling police he was not in Lewes at the time of her murder.

Instead he blames another man called John Parish for the death. But prosecutors in the murder trial at Hove Crown Court say there is no evidence against Mr Parish.

Caroline Carberry QC, prosecuting, says Canlin battered Nicola to death in a “brutal, frenzied” attack with a claw hammer.

The hammer contained both Canlin’s and Nicola’s DNA.

Jury members heard details of how Canlin was waiting at a cash machine in Lewes for Nicola Stevenson’s benefits to be paid into her account.

Bank records and CCTV show he checked her balance at the cashpoint several times waiting for the money from the DWP to clear, the court heard.

When the money dropped in, he emptied her account, it was claimed.

At Nicola’s flat in Stansfield Road he had changed the energy supplier and tried to change the tenancy into his own name.

Neighbours described the strong smell of cleaning products in mid October.

Inside, a rug containing her blood had been rolled up, and Canlin had removed pictures of Ms Stevenson’s children. A sheet containing her blood was found in the washing machine, and her blood was spattered on the walls and ceiling.

Ms Carberry QC told the jury about Canlin’s responses to police questioning with his solicitor and significant adult.

He told officers he had been away at a circus fairground in Nottingham at the time of the killing, but phone records and CCTV showed he was in Lewes.

Canlin also claimed to be a family member of Nicola, which was not true.

He said his parents had died, but they are in fact alive and well, the court was told.

Ms Carberry said: “When asked straight up if he had killed Nicola Stevenson, he laughed.”

Canlin, of no fixed address, denies murder.