By Michael MacLeod
Killer Alan Cameron, 56, was told he will serve a minimum of 25-years for murdering 44-year-old Heather Stacey at her Edinburgh home in December 2007.
He kept her body in the flat for over a year before trying to hide the evidence.
Cameron always denied killing Heather but admitted the gruesome disposal of her body.
Jurors found him unanimously guilty last month having being shown chilling images of her badly decomposed head after it was found in an Ikea bag by a dog walker in Newhaven’s Hawthornvale path on Hogmanay 2008.
Relatives of the mum-of-four wept as Lord Matthews delivered his sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Cries of “Yes, get in,” and “beast” could be heard from the public gallery as Cameron, dressed in a green shirt, was led away.
The Judge told Cameron: “No one who saw the evidence of her daughter Danielle can imagine what she must have gone through when she heard her mother’s remains had been found.
“You have a history of dishonesty but the lies you told in relation to Heather Stacey were the cruellest of all.
“You left her corpse to rot where it lay in an insect infested flat and even in death you abused her.”
His trial heard that Ms Stacey was well aware of the type of man Cameron was; describing him as “creepy” but eventually taking pity on him.
But she had no idea that the man she became engaged to had already spent time in jail for abusing three young girls in Glasgow in 1995.
Forensic investigators and pathologists struggled to piece together her final moments, or the cause of death, due to the decomposed state of her remains.
Cameron claimed Heather died on 9 December 2007 while he was out buying her chips.
But with a warrant out for his arrest over an alleged attack on a dog, he said he “panicked” when he found her body on his return.
What Cameron did next was, even by his own admission, “beyond perplexing.”
His defence agent John Scott said: “He has a lot of thinking to do and a lot of help is needed for him to come to terms with what he did.
“He accepts that what he did is clearly far from normal; it is beyond perplexing.”
He tried to stave off concern over Ms Stacey’s disappearance by sending people text messages from her phone.
He even made repeated withdrawals from her Post Office account in a bid to make it appear she was still alive.
In total, he took over £5,000 from her benefits and savings.
This, Lord Matthews said, was “particularly mean.”
He added: “Your victim Heather Stacey was a relatively young woman who like many people of her age suffered a number of setbacks in her life.
“But she was taking steps to recovery and you robbed her of the opportunities ahead of her.
“All of this, you said, was in order to avoid arrest for nothing more than a breach of the peace.
“I take account of the facts stated on your behalf in reports but they pail in insignificance to the enormity of your crimes.
“The theft of £5,000 was shown to be particularly mean.”
When authorities stopped paying Ms Stacey’s benefits, Cameron began attempting to cut her body up with a kitchen knife.
He used his bare hands to break her body into pieces and wrapped parts in bin liners and an Ikea bag before dumping them around the Granton area of the capital.
Dog walker and make-up artist Anita Anderson, 41, and boyfriend Jem Kitchen, 47, stumbled upon her head wrapped in a bin liner and dumped on Hawthornvale Path in Edinburgh on Hogmanay morning, 2008.
The gruesome discovery sparked a massive murder investigation and Cameron was arrested on January 8, 2009 at the Spar shop in Edinburghs Lindsay Road where he worked.
During an interview at St Leonards Station he told police that Heather had been drinking huge amounts of alcohol in the days leading up to her death and was bedridden.
He said he feared authorities would not believe his version of Ms Stacey’s death so did not report it.
None of her four children suspected anything untoward had happened to her.
Her daughter Danielle Williamson, 23, gave evidence at the trial.
She said: “We were still close, we just didn’t see each other as much as we had before.
“The last time I saw her was when we went to the police station, it was October 07.
“She was fine, she was sober.
“She looked well kept because my mum always kept a good appearance.”
They kept in touch afterwards but her mother’s text messages stopped in November before police later broke the heart breaking news that her mother was dead.
Lothian and Borders Police welcomed the sentence.
Detective Inspector William Guild said: “The sentence handed down today reflects the seriousness of the crime committed by Alan Cameron, and the hard work of the police and prosecutors who brought this case to its conclusion.
“We hope that today’s result will provide some closure for Heather Stacey’s family, and I would like to pay tribute to them for the strength and courage they displayed over the course of the investigation into Heather’s murder.”