Samantha Wright’s mother slams killer’s appeal bid

Catherine Gibson has attacked Chalmers' bid for freedom. Picture: Neil Hanna
Catherine Gibson has attacked Chalmers' bid for freedom. Picture: Neil Hanna
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THE mother of a young woman murdered by double killer Robert Chalmers today condemned his “sickening” appeal bid to get out of jail before he dies.

Chalmers was found guilty of murdering Samantha Wright and keeping her body in a wheelie bin at his Duddingston home for up to 17 months.

Robert Chalmers.

Robert Chalmers.

Her mother, Catherine Gibson, above, said the 60-year-old – known to local children as Papa Smurf because of his white beard – walked “grinning” from the dock after learning his appeal would be heard by five judges.

Mrs Gibson travelled from England to attend the hearing at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh yesterday.

Chalmers, who was sentenced to a minimum of 23 years for the murder of Ms Wright, is seeking to reduce his prison term by citing the case of another notorious Edinburgh murderer.

Alan Cameron, who is serving life for murdering girlfriend Heather Stacey in 2007 and later dumping her head in a bag, had his minimum jail term cut from 25 to 14 years.

Appeal judges ruled that because no cause of Ms Stacey’s death had been established, the punishment part could not be more than the minimum sentence in “normal” murder cases.

Medics told Chalmers’ trial in 2011 that they did not know what killed Ms Wright, who disappeared aged 25.

Mrs Gibson, 50, who lives in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, said: “I had to come for the hearing to ensure there’s justice for Samantha. Chalmers should not be allowed this appeal.

“We started to move on after the trial and then the appeal started and everything stopped again. It puts you right back at the beginning.

“He was told the appeal was going to five judges and he walked away grinning. It left me feeling disgusted and very bitter. It seems like he’s got all the rights and we’ve got nothing.”

Chalmers sat in the dock yesterday clutching medication for a heart condition.

After being convicted of murdering Ms Wright, the court learned that Chalmers had already served nine years of a life sentence for a murder in Renfrewshire in December 1973.

Mrs Gibson said: “He’s killed twice and I believe he would do it again if he got out. We don’t want him to ever get out again. He should die in prison.”

Yesterday, judge Lady Paton said there were legal questions involved in the case which should be discussed by five judges instead of the usual three.

No date has been set for a further hearing.

Body-in-bag killer has sentence reduced

THE murder of Heather Stacey, whose dismembered body was dumped in bags, was another killing which shocked the Capital.

Alan Cameron was given a 25-year minimum term for murdering the mum-of-four, whose severed head was found beside a path in Newhaven on Hogmanay 2008.

But in March 2011, judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh called the original sentence “excessive” and reduced it to 14 years.

The judges said because of ambiguity around how Cameron killed his victim, there was “no warrant” to impose a sentence of “such severity”.