Dennis Nilsen: Britain’s Most Prolific Serial Killer
In 1983, British serial killer Dennis Nilsen was convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder. Discover the incredible backstory behind this monstrous criminal.
Dennis Nilsen’s name is synonymous with terror and horror. The former British soldier turned serial killer was convicted in 1983 of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder, leading to years behind bars for one of the most notorious criminals in history. Explore the incredible backstory behind this monstrous criminal.
Who was Dennis Nilsen?
Dennis Nilsen was a British serial killer who killed at least 12 young men and boys between 1978 and 1983. He picked up his victims in various public places such as bus stops and pubs, luring them back to his homes with the promise of food or lodging. His reign of terror ended in 1983 when a plumber was called to clear blocked drains in one of the houses he had been living in only to discover human remains. Nilsen was eventually tracked down, arrested, and sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
How Many Killings Did He Commit?
Dennis Nilsen is believed to have killed a total of 15 people, though he was only convicted of six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. It is generally accepted that his victims numbered between 12 and 15, with three of them unidentified. All the victims were young men and boys between the ages of 16 and 33.
Nilsen was apprehended in 1983, at which time he confessed to the killings and gave detailed descriptions of his victims. He also told the police that he kept the bodies in his home, which is something that Richard Gereger, Nilsen’s former neighbor and neighbor during some of the killings, noticed when a suspicious smell began to emanate from Nilsen’s flat. After a comprehensive investigation, it was eventually determined that 15 people had been killed by Nilsen between 1978 and 1983.
What Were His Modus Operandi?
By his own admission in interviews with Chief Inspector Jay and Detective Superintendent Holmes, Dennis Nilsen employed a modus operandi of deception. He would befriend young men whom he typically encountered in drinking establishments, then lure them back to his Muswell Hill flat. Here, he would either strangle or drown the individual before disposing of the body in one of two ways: either by burning it outdoors near his flat or flushing pieces down the toilet and sink.
What Eventually Led to His Arrest?
In a fateful turn of events in February 1983, Nilsen unknowingly flushed the remains of one of his victims down the drains near his flat. This caused blockages in both the toilet and sink, which led to a plumber making an unexpected visit. When inspecting the flooded flat, he found that the cause was a mass of fatty material and bones that had been blocked inside the kitchen drain. When police were called to investigate further, they were met with a horrifying discovery – parts of human bodies. This prompted an immediate investigation and eventually led to Nilsen’s arrest.
Why Did The Press Label Him “Des” or the “Kindly Killer”?
Despite his monstrous acts, the press occasionally gave Nilsen the nickname “Des” due to his polite demeanor and well-spoken nature. For example, upon his arrest, Nilsen reportedly offered officers a cup of tea, which may have contributed to an image of being a kindly killer. He was also known for chatting with police officers in a friendly manner while in custody and even openly expressing regret over his actions. While this behavior undoubtedly disturbed many people, it seemed to form part of a narrative that portrayed him as overly polite and possibly even remorseful.