Samantha Wright's killer jailed for life

A "cold-hearted and callous" killer who murdered a vulnerable young woman and dumped her body in a wheelie bin has been jailed for life.

Samantha Wright, originally from Stevenage in Hertfordshire, was reported missing on what would have been her 25th birthday in January 2009. She had failed to get in touch with her family for several months.

Robert Chalmers, 59, of Edinburgh, had already killed her in June of the previous year and hidden her remains in his garden bin "as if they were rubbish", the city's High Court heard.

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Chalmers, who was revealed to have been convicted of another murder in the 1970s, was ordered today to spend at least 23 years behind bars before he can be considered for release.

Judge Lord Malcolm said Chalmers was guilty of a "depraved and dreadful" crime.

He said: "The jury has convicted you of the murder of Samantha Wright. You then partially dismembered and concealed her naked body in a bin in your garden, where it was discovered 16 months later.

"No words of mine can adequately convey the grief and devastation which you have caused to her family and to her many friends."

The judge went on: "Throughout, you have expressed no guilt, remorse or contrition. It was only through skilled and dedicated police, forensic and legal work that you were brought to justice. All those involved in that deserve great credit.

"Because of the consequences of the passage of time, unless and until you give a truthful account, we will never know exactly what happened that night. However, your conduct after Samantha's death satisfied the jury that you are guilty of murder and it satisfies me that this was a depraved and dreadful crime."

Lord Malcolm added that should Chalmers survive until his mid-80s, he will only be released when the Parole Board considers it appropriate.

Chalmers had denied killing Miss Wright and coldly blamed another man for her death.

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But he was convicted by a jury last month of murdering the 24-year-old "by means unknown" on June 12 or 13 2008 at his home in Magdalene Drive in the Duddingston area of Edinburgh.

He was also found guilty of hiding her partially dismembered body in a bin in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Chalmers, who has angina and osteoporosis, continues to deny his guilt. He showed no emotion as his sentence was delivered.

The victim's parents, Jeremy Wright and Catherine Gibson, both 48, previously said Chalmers has "destroyed so many lives" by killing a "beautiful young woman who had everything to live for".

Giving evidence at the trial, Mr Wright said his daughter "wouldn't see the dark side" of anything and described her as "bubbly and full of fun".

Another witness described her as a "talkative girl" who found it easy to strike up a conversation with strangers.

Miss Wright moved to Edinburgh after falling in love with the city on a family holiday.

She was registered as a missing person in January 2009 after her family raised the alarm when she failed to contact them at Christmas and on her birthday.

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Police were led to Chalmers through CCTV footage which showed her with him in Edinburgh city centre on June 12 2008. The footage is the last known sighting of Miss Wright and it is believed she was lured to Chalmers' home and killed shortly afterwards.

Her remains were discovered during a search of the double killer's property in October 2009 - Chalmers has a previous conviction for murder dating to 1974, when he was 22. The court heard today that he and a fellow workman got involved in a drunken fight, resulting in the man's death.

Chalmers was at liberty on life licence when he killed Miss Wright.