‘Psychopath’ who killed dog in Derbyshire is jailed for brutal murder of mum

A ‘psychopath’ who battered his dog to death in Derbyshire eight years ago has now been jailed for brutally murdering a mother-of-two.

Monday, 26th October 2020, 12:30 pm

Richard Canlin used a claw hammer to kill 39-year-old Nicola Stevenson before dumping her body in a wheelie bin in Lewes, East Sussex.

A jury found Canlin guilty of her murder earlier this month following a two-week trial at Hove Crown Court.

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Sussex Police released these pictures of Richard Canlin and the scene where Nicola Stevenson's body was found.

The 42-year-old showed no emotion as the judge sentenced him to 22 years in prison.

In 2013, Canlin, who lived on John Street, Clay Cross, was jailed for 23 weeks for killing his dog and seriously injuring another – in a case described by the RSPCA as ‘extremely disturbing’.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard the body of Daisy, a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was found covered in blood in a holdall in Canlin’s cellar in 2012.

She had suffered multiple head traumas and fractured ribs.

Nicola Stevenson. Picture released by Sussex Police.

A second dog, Leyla, was also found cowering at the top of Canlin’s stairs with serious head injuries.

Felicity Clarke, defending Canlin, told the court at the time that he suffered from psychopathic tendancies.

She added: “He has the lowest capacity of intelligence. Ninety-nine per cent of the population are more intelligent than him.”

During the murder trial, the jury heard how Canlin had been living in Ms Stevenson’s flat on Stansfield Road, Lewes, before and after killing her.

He dumped her body in a bin in a nearby park.

Sentencing Canlin for murder, Her Honour Judge Shani Barnes told Canlin his actions ‘showed complete and utter contempt’.

She added: “Nicola was a daughter of clearly loving parents who have endured this entire trial listening to horrific evidence.

“We now know she was the mother of two young children and her family and friends will mourn her loss for the rest of their lives.”

She told him Ms Stevenson had shown him great kindness in allowing him to live in her home when he was homeless – but there was a ‘great deal of tension and resentment towards her’.

“You were certainly jealous that she had a flat and was cared for by social services,” Judge Barnes said.

After the case, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday, of Sussex Police, said Canlin ‘took advantage of Nicola’s good nature and sought to exploit it, while looking to blame others’.

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