1961, Nilsen left school and
enlisted in the British Army. He served for
11 years, earning a General Service Medal before being
discharged, at his own request, in November 1972.
December 1972, he joined the
Metropolitan Police, and was posted to Willesden, London
Nilsen served eight months as a police officer before
1974, Nilsen worked as a civil
servant in a jobcentre in London's Kentish Town.
November 1975, Nilsen moved into
Melrose Avenue in Cricklewood, London.
October 1981, Nilsen moved to an
attic flat at 23 Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, London.
The alcoholic homosexual
could not come to grips with life in the closet and
resorted to murder and necrophilia.
He would lure young
homeless men to his London flat, render them unconscious
with alcohol and strangle them to death
He would stash
their bodies under the floor boards and in cupboards.
Occasionally he would take one out, wash and dress it, and
pretend to have a date. He would lay the corpse next to
him in bed and masturbate. Then, return it to the floor
boards. Like Jeffery Dahmer his American counterpart, he
killed out of loneliness.. He kept an assortment of body
parts around the house as company and sometimes even left
them in plain view when he went out to work.
12 or 13 men over 4 years, and destroyed their bodies in a
series of large bonfires in his garden. However, when he
was forced to move to a new apartment in 1981 with no garden he
had to improvise new ways to dispose of "his friends."
1983 he was discovered when he tried to flush human
remains down the toilet, and clogged the plumbing. The
neighbours complained about the blocked drains, and caught
him trying to clear them at midnight. After a plumber had
been called, and discovered what he believed to be pieces
of chicken in the drains, the police were called. When the
Police searched his top floor apartment, they discovered
body parts of 3 men, who Nilsen had dismembered using his
army butchery skills.
9th February 1983 Nilsen arrested.
24th October 1983, The trial started .
Nilsen was charged with six counts of murder and two
charges of attempted murder. Nilsen pleaded “Not Guilty”
to each one, claiming diminished responsibility due to
Alan Green the prosecutor. claimed
that Nilsen had killed in full awareness of what he was
doing and should be found guilty of murder. His principal
evidence was from Nilsen’s own lengthy statement to the
police, while the defence relied on psychiatric analysis.
During the summing up, the judge instructed
the jury that a mind can be evil without being abnormal,
thereby dispensing with all of the psychiatric jargon.
Thursday 3rd November 1983. The
jury retired to consider their verdict.
4th November 1883, At 4:25pm they delivered a verdict,
Guilty on all counts.
sentenced Dennis Andrew Nilsen to life in prison, and
specified that he should not be eligible for parole for 25
years, he was aged 37.
Thursday 25 October, 2001,
Dennis Nilsen had, while in Whitemoor
top security prison, written his life story. Titled "The
Drowning Man", he had sent it to a book publisher. The
prison authority seized the manuscript and are
refusing to return it to him.
Nilsen took his fight to be allowed the
right to publish to the high court in London, he won the
case. Mr Justice Elias said Nilsen, could seek a judicial
review to challenge the decision not to return the
manuscript to him so he could edit it. Nilsen has stated
that all proceeds of the book will go to charity.
19 March, 2002, Dennis Nilsen lost
the legal battle over his planned autobiography. The High
Court said the Prison Service has the right to read - and
possibly censor - the manuscript before his solicitors are
allowed to return it to him so he can continue working on
it. His barrister Flo Krause argued the home secretary and
prison authorities had no powers to vet the manuscript,
currently held by his solicitors, before it was handed to
Ms Krause said the authorities would be breaching
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. She
argued it would be irrational and a "disproportionate"
action breaching his right to respect for family life,
home and correspondence. It would also breach Article 10,
protecting freedom of expression, argued Ms Krause.
Rejecting the challenge, Mr Justice Crane ruled that the
home secretary was "fully entitled to require that the
manuscript be stopped and read". Ms Krause said Nilsen,
now held at Full Sutton prison, near York, could have
had the book published before now, but wanted to do
further work on it. She insisted he was not being
underhand in any way. Nilsen says the book, called
"Nilsen: History of a Drowning Man", is a serious work
about his life and imprisonment. The manuscript, which he
started working on in the early 1990s, was taken out by Nilsen's then solicitor in 1996 whilst he was being held
at Whitemoor prison. The prison authorities said it was
taken without their knowledge and authority.
Nilsen, who was given legal aid, was
refused permission to appeal. An anthology of poems and
tapes of music he recorded in prison were also blocked.
During the judicial review Nilsen was held
at Whitmore prison, he is currently held at HMP Full
Sutton maximum security prison in Yorkshire.
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