A CALLOUS killer has been jailed for life for the brutal murder of a vulnerable woman.

Richard Canlin strangled and then bludgeoned Nicola Stevenson to death in her flat in Lewes.

The 42-year-old then showed “utter contempt” for her by wedging her body head-first into a wheelie bin and dumping it off the Landport estate.

He set himself in her flat, attempting to change the tenancy into his name, along with the energy bills.

Canlin used mother-of-two Nicola’s benefits money to buy himself a snooker table and Xbox.

The Argus:

Nicola Stevenson was murdered

He had also removed a picture of Nicola and her two children from the flat in Stansfield Road then spun a web of lies to her friends to stop them from being suspicious about her disappearance.

At Hove Crown Court he was found guilty of murdering Nicola, who was vulnerable as she was diagnosed with Russell-Silver syndrome, a type of dwarfism, from birth.

Read more on this story:

Judge Shani Barnes told him: “You used your full strength to destroy her, and spun a web of lies to all those who cared about her to stop them knowing what had happened to her as a result of your callous, cold cruelty.”

The judge imposed a life sentence on Canlin, of no fixed address, and said he will have to serve a minimum of 22 years before he can be considered for parole.

The Argus:

Richard Canlin has been jailed for life

Previously, the court was told that Nicola, 39, had text friend Nick Thomsett about wanting Canlin to leave her flat, where he was lodging from August 2019.

Canlin is understood to have killed Nicola on October 13, as Nicola’s final messages to Mr Thomsett were sent that day.

He carried out a “brutal, frenzied” attack upon her, prosecutors said.

Nicola’s body was found by dog walker Alex Kirby on November 13, and a murder investigation was launched.

The Argus:

The scene off the Landport estate, Lewes

The judge said Canlin “resented” Nicola for the help and flat she had and blamed innocent man John Parish, who police investigated but ruled out of their enquiries.

While Canlin has been diagnosed with a personality disorder, the judge said the killer was “manipulative and calculating” and a “compulsive liar”.

The judge said: [Nicola] was completely at your mercy. She was physically vulnerable and no match for you. You rained down blow after blow.

“The way you bundled her into a wheelie bin showed complete and utter contempt for what you had done. You rendered her completely worthless.”