Nilsen TV interview banned

Maggie Brown,Media Editor
Wednesday 20 January 1993 00:02 GMT

THE FIRST television interview with the murderer Dennis Nilsen, in which he tells, without remorse, how he killed some 15 young male victims and cut up their bodies, was banned yesterday.

The interview was dropped from a screening for the press of a documentary about serial killers after the Home Office won a temporary injunction against Central Television.

This morning the Home Office returns to court, seeking a further injunction to stop the interview being broadcast on Tuesday.

The interview, filmed at Albany prison in the Isle of Wight, forms a crucial seven-minute portion of an hour-long programme, Viewpoint 1993 - Murder in Mind.

The programme is a grim two-year investigation into serial killings here and in America. It describes how police, aided by clinical psychologists and computerised data banks, can trap murderers who appear to kill for pleasure.

One American serial killer is filmed talking about how he was caught masturbating over the body of his victim.

Another killer, Bob Berdella, a Kansas businessman, now dead, who sexually abused, tortured and mutilated six young men for days, before killing them, describes how he reduced them to such a state of terror that he was able to sleep next to them in bed using only dog collars and leads to keep them from escaping.

The Home Office says it did not give permission for Central to film Nilsen for a broadcast to the public as that would breach its policy of refusing access to convicted lifers because of the pain that could be caused to the families of their victims.

The Nilsen interview was edited out of the film shown to the media yesterday after the Home Office won a temporary injunction at 11.15pm on Monday when news of the screening leaked out.

Michael Morley, the programme-maker, said Central had verbal permission and that filming had taken place openly.

The Home Office had served an injunction on Central last Friday claiming breach of copyright. Paul Britton, a clinical psychologist who also appears on the film, is named as a defendant alongside Central.

Mr Britton conducted the three-and-a-half hour interview with Nilsen in September, accompanied by two police officers, a superintendent and detective chief inspector who had video equipment. The Home Office says the material was to be used solely for police training.

Also present were Mr Morley and his film crew. 'We were in the jail for two days running and they were notified of my interview,' he said yesterday.

Mike Dowsett, acting governor of Albany, said facilities had been provided for the interview after he had been told about it by the Home Office. Dangerous Category A prisoners had occasionally been interviewed, he said. The dispute was over who controlled the film.

Nilsen murdered the young down-and outs in London over five years. His activities were discovered by accident in 1983 when a drain became clogged with rotting human flesh outside his flat in Cranley Gardens, north London.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in