Samantha Wright murderer launches appeal bid

Robert Chalmers has launched a bid to have his sentence reduced. Picture: Lesley Donald
Robert Chalmers has launched a bid to have his sentence reduced. Picture: Lesley Donald
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A MURDERER who killed a woman and dumped her remains in a wheelie bin in Edinburgh has launched a bid to have his jail term cut.

Lawyers for Robert Chalmers, 60, have begun to argue that his minimum term of 23 years for killing Samantha Wright, 24, should be reduced. Ms Wright’s mutilated body was found in a wheelie bin at Chalmers’s home in Edinburgh in October 2009 after a search lasting nine months.

Samantha Wright. Picture: submitted

Samantha Wright. Picture: submitted

After he was convicted of the murder, the jury was told he had previously served nine years of a life sentence for stabbing 47-year-old William White to death in December 1973.

At the trial it emerged that Chalmers drank beer and watched television just a few feet away from Ms Wright’s mutilated body after killing her - using fly spray and air fresheners to ward off the putrid smell. The key piece of evidence was a mattress soaked with her blood as he tried to cut Ms Wright’s head off.

Advocate depute John Scullion, prosecuting, told the trial that Chalmers was an aggressive drunk who took Ms Wright home hoping to have sex with her, only to kill her when things went wrong. The former labourer was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by hiding Samantha’s body.

At the Court of Criminal Appeal on Thursday, Chalmers’s legal team argued that his minimum jail term should be reduced because the cause of Ms Wright’s death was never established. A similar argument helped killer Alan Cameron, who murdered his girlfriend and dumped her head in a bag, cut the punishment part of his sentence from 25 years to 14.

Judge Lady Paton said there were other legal questions involved and ordered the case to be heard by five judges rather than the usual three.

No date was set for the next hearing