A MAN accused of murdering a woman with a claw hammer also bludgeoned his own dog to death and hid its corpse, a court heard.

Richard Canlin is accused of the “frenzied, brutal” killing of vulnerable mum-of-two Nicola Stevenson in Lewes.

The 42-year-old is alleged to have killed Nicola during a rage before dumping her body in a wheelie bin off the Landport estate in the town, near where she lived in Stansfield Road.

The Argus:

Nicola Stevenson was found dead

He is standing trial for murder, and Hove Crown Court previously heard how Canlin allegedly told neighbours Nicola had left her flat to go to Scotland.

Now the court heard how the man accused was prosecuted by the RSPCA after the body of his dog Daisy was found in his cellar.

One of his support workers made the grisly discovery of the dog’s remains inside a holdall six years before the alleged killing of Nicola

Forensic examination by a specialist vet concluded Daisy died from blunt force trauma to the head. The dog had also suffered several rib fractures on three separate occasions.

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The jury were told Canlin admitted killing his dog in 2012 after first claiming it had been run over by a truck.

The RSPCA concluded Daisy was deliberately, intentionally injured by kicking or hitting with blunt object and not in a road traffic accident.

Canlin also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to another dog by causing head trauma.

The court heard Canlin has other convictions for abusive behaviour and criminal damage.

Earlier the court heard Nicola Stevenson had at least 11 blunt force trauma wounds to her head consistent with being hit with a hammer.

The Argus:

The alleged murder weapon

The jury heard how blood was left spattered throughout the flat, where Canlin was a lodger.

His DNA was found on the alleged murder weapon, a claw hammer, along with Nicola's blood.

Canlin has accused John Parish for the killing, but Mr Parish said he was not involved in the killing. Mr Parish was ruled out of the murder inquiry by the police.

The Argus:

Richard Canlin denies murder

Police found Canlin in Nicola's flat a month after she was last heard from by her friends.

He had changed the energy provider and was spotted on CCTV waiting at a cashpoint for her benefits money to go into her bank account so he could take the cash out.

Canlin denies murder, the trial continues.