Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Dennis Nilsen death: Serial killer who murdered at least 12 young men dies in prison aged 72

Muswell Hill Murderer, who hid victim’s remains inside his north London flat, was serving a full life term

Tom Barnes
Saturday 12 May 2018 21:57 BST
Dennis Nilsen carried out at least 12 murders over a five-year period
Dennis Nilsen carried out at least 12 murders over a five-year period (PA)

Serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered at least 12 men during the late 1970s and early 1980s, has died in prison aged 72.

Nilsen died in custody at HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire on Saturday, a spokesman for the Prison Service said in a statement.

The former civil servant executed and dismembered many of his victims at his home in Muswell Hill, north London.

He was jailed for life in 1983 after being convicted of six counts of murder and two attempted murders, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 25 years.

It is understood authorities believe Nilsen died from natural causes.

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

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

Nilsen is known to have killed a minimum of 12 men between 1978 and 1983, although he initially confessed to committing 15 murders.

He mainly targeted homosexual or homeless men, luring individuals he met in bars or on public transport to his flat with offers of alcohol and shelter.

Nilsen, who killed all of his victims by strangulation, would often keep the bodies of those he murdered at his home for extended periods of time.

He would then dispose of their remains by either flushing them down the lavatory or burning them on bonfires.

His crimes were only discovered after body parts were found to be blocking a drain outside his property.

In a 1993 interview, the Scottish-born killer said he enjoyed “caring” for the bodies of his victims, storing remains he could not dispose of under floorboards or in cupboards.

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

Nilsen’s initial 25-year sentence was later upgraded to a full life term.

Additional reporting by PA

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