UPDATE (MAY 16, 2018):
On May 12, 2018, Dennis Nilsen passed away in prison at the age of 72, from natural causes. He had served 34 years of his life sentence.
ORIGINAL STORY (OCTOBER 24, 2016):
On October 24, 1983, Dennis Nilsen, the British serial killer and necrophiliac who murdered 15 young men between 1978 and 1983 in London, was brought to trial and charged with six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.
Nilson, who was also known as the “Muswell Hill Murderer” — named for the residential neighborhood where he killed most of his victims — and the “Kindly Killer,” has been compared to U.S. serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer due to their similar modus operandi. Most of Nilsen’s victims were homeless or homosexual men. He would lure them to his home with the promise of shelter, food, and alcohol, and then strangle them with a ligature.Afterward, Nilsen would drown his victims before bathing and clothing their bodies, which he would keep at his home for weeks or months before dismembering them.
He told police that he chose this method of murder because he believed that it was the most humane. Just like Dahmer, after killing his victims, Nilsen would have sex with them and talk to them.
He got rid of most of the remains by burning them or flushing them down the toilet. He was eventually caught after the drain-cleaning company servicing a blockage at his flat at 23 Cranley Gardens found that the drains were congested with human flesh, and contacted the police.
Nilsen was born on November 23, 1945 in Scotland. He has described his childhood as “lonely” and said he was profoundly affected by the death of his beloved grandfather, whom he described as his “hero and protector” in 1951 — and by his mother showing him her body in the coffin.
Nilsen struggled with his emerging homosexuality after puberty, and began to develop fantasies that involved his sexual partner being completely passive or unconscious.
At 14, he joined the Army, where he served for 11 years, working as a cook. The butchery skills he learned assisted him in dismembering the bodies of his victims. Later, he worked as a Metropolitan Police officer, but struggled to hide his secret after-hours life meeting men at gay bars. He left the force, but later found work as a security guard, and was working as a career advisor at the time of his arrest.
On November 4, 1983, Nilsen was sentenced to life in prison at the HMP Sutton maximum security facility in Yorkshire, England, with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years.
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Main photo: Dennis Nilsen mug shot [Wikimedia Commons]