Serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered at least 12 men and played 'dress-up' with their corpses, dies in prison aged 72

Serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who admitted to killing at least 15 people in the 1970s and 1980s, has died in prison.

                            Serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered at least 12 men and played 'dress-up' with their corpses, dies in prison aged 72
Dennis Nilsen (Source: Police Department)

The infamous Muswell Hill Murderer, who killed at least 12 men by strangling or drowning them after picking them off the streets and performing coitus with their dead bodies, was imprisoned for life in the year 1983.

Dennis Nilsen is second only to Harold Shipman when it comes to the number of murders committed in the UK. He originally hails from Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The serial killer was convicted of two counts of attempted murder and a staggering six counts of cold-blooded murder at Old Bailey in London, reported The Guardian.

Nilsen was jailed at HMP Full Sutton at the time of his death, after being placed in a number of jails throughout his imprisonment. It is a maximum security prison located in Full Sutton, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. He is believed to have died from natural causes.

Also known as the "British Jeffrey Dahmer", Nilsen carried out a savage spree of murders during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Nilsen is believed to have lured as many as 15 young men to his north London home where he would kill them and perform necro coitus with their corpses. Most of his victims were typically homosexuals who were homeless.

Many sources claim that the cold-blooded killer would often sit with the corpses for a number of days before going ahead and dismembering them. 

His crimes were discovered in a rather shocking manner and almost by chance. A drain outside Nilsen's house became blocked after he tried to flush away human remains that got stuck in them. His house was located on Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill. He was just 37 years old at the time. Nilsen had spent 11 years in the armed forces. He had learned certain butchery skills while he served for a while in the catering corps. Later, Nilsen worked as a probationary police constable before joining the Manpower Services Commission as a security officer in 1974.

Tenants residing in his block had complained to the landlord about the unbearable smell from the drains. When a plumber was brought down to inspect the drainage system, he found pipes blocked with human flesh.

The remains of three bodies were found at his home address while bones from at least eight other bodies were discovered at this previous address in Melrose Avenue, Cricklewood, in north-west London, the court heard during his trial at Old Bailey. The trial also heard how Nilsen would strangle many of his victims with a tie and then dispose of their bodies.

Nilsen would meet his prey in a pub and would take them back to his apartment for a drink. Carl Stotter, who was reportedly Nilsen's ex-boyfriend, said he tried to kill him as well. According to him, Nilsen strangled him and threw him into a bucket of water. For some reason, Nilsen revived him.

Stotter told the media, "When I woke up after the attack I was in bed wrapped in blankets with a bar burning on the electric heater to keep me warm." When he asked Nilsen why he tried to kill him, and the response was "What passed between us was a thin strand of love and humanity." 

In 1983, the Muswell Hill Murderer was jailed for life on six counts of murder and two of attempted murder with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years of his sentence.

While the serial killer admitted to taking the lives of at least 15 people, he was convicted of the murders of only six of them:

Kenneth James Ockenden

Martyn Brandon Duffey

William David Sutherland

Malcolm Barlow

John Peter Howlett

Stephen Neil Sinclair

Having said that, there were others who survived.

During an interview in 1993, the murderer who wore glasses recounted in horrific detail how he loved caring for the dead bodies, dressing and undressing them before cutting them up. Detectives were greeted with the fetid stench of decay when they first searched as flat, as Nilsen stored human remains under his floorboards and in his cupboards for many months. However, some of the body parts were carelessly flushed away by him.

Nilsen said: “The bodies are all gone. There is nothing left. But I still feel a spiritual communion with these people.”

The 72-year-old was sentenced in 1983 with the minimum recommendation and his sentence was later upgraded to life imprisonment.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: "Dennis Andrew Nilsen, date of birth November 23, 1945, died in custody at HMP Full Sutton on Saturday, May 12, 2018.

"As with all deaths in custody, there will be an independent investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman."