A POLICE chief says a murderer took advantage of a woman’s good nature.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday said killer Richard Canlin lied to officers over Nicola Stevenson’s death in Lewes.

Speaking after 42-year-old Canlin was jailed for life, the officer praised the courage of witnesses to come forward.

DCI Friday said: “Nicola was a well-known figure in the local community and Canlin took advantage of her good nature and sought to exploit it, whilst looking to blame others.

“Canlin killed Nicola in a brutal attack. She had allowed him to stay at her address, and when she asked him to leave he took advantage of her kindness, and attacked her about the head with a hammer, killing her in her own home.”

He said officers had worked tirelessly to bring him to justice and expose his crime, and offered condolences to Nicola’s family including her parents, who had heard “harrowing” details in court.

DCI Friday said: “Canlin disposed of her body in a callous way, dumping her in a bin, in the nearby park.

“Unbelievably, he then carried on as if nothing had happened, assuming Nicola’s life, spending her money on things for himself, living in her property and telling friends she had gone away.

“Ultimately, we sought to identify who committed what is the most serious crime of all.

“Despite substantial circumstantial, financial and forensic evidence against him, he continually lied to police during interviews about his whereabouts during October and chose to blame another man for her murder, for which police could find no evidence.

“From the moment that Nicola’s body was discovered, this has been a fast moving and dynamic investigation, where my team worked tirelessly over many days, to maximise the amount of time we could hold Canlin, whilst securing evidence to charge him.”