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How was Dennis Nilsen caught?

CAST your mind back to 1983 when Dennis Nilsen was uncovered as one of Britain’s most prolific murderers.

A seemingly “ordinary” man who went by the name of Des, turned out to be a serial killer.

Rex Features
Dennis Nilsen was one of Britain’s most prolific mass murderers [/caption]

When was Dennis Nilsen caught?

Nilsen claimed he killed 15 or 16 men in the 1970s and 80s, many of whom were vulnerable boys and homeless.

He lured his victims back to his flat before he drowned or strangled them.

The twisted Scotsman would then often sit with their bodies for days before he dismembered them, according to reports.

He was arrested on February 9, 1983.

Getty Images - Getty
This was the house of horrors where human flesh was discovered in the drains[/caption]

How was Dennis Nilsen caught?

Dennis was only caught when plumbers found human remains blocking the drain of his London flat.

Nilsen’s murders were first discovered by a Dyno-Rod employee, Michael Cattran, who responded to the plumbing complaints made by both Nilsen and other tenants of 23 Cranley Gardens on February 8, 1983. 

Opening a drain cover at the side of the house, Cattran discovered the drain was packed with a flesh-like substance and numerous small bones of unknown origin.

Cattran reported his suspicions to his supervisor, Gary Wheeler.

As Cattran had arrived at the property at dusk, he and Wheeler agreed to postpone further investigation into the blockage until the following morning.

Prior to leaving the property, Nilsen and a fellow tenant convened with Cattran to discuss the source of the substance.

Upon hearing Cattran exclaim how similar the substance was in appearance to human flesh, Nilsen replied: “It looks to me like someone has been flushing down their Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

After he was arrested, Nilsen confessed to murdering “15 or 16” young men, putting him behind only Harold Shipman as the UK’s most prolific murderer.

He was serving his sentence at maximum security HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire and was 35 years into his life sentence when he died.

People have wondered if Nilsen wanted to get caught for his crimes[/caption]

Did Dennis Nilsen want to get caught?

It appears that Nilsen may have wanted to be caught.

We have learnt that he was the one who told his landlord about the “blocked drains” and that he “wouldn’t pay rent” until they were fixed.

As he knew that the reason they were blocked was because he had flushed human flesh down the toilet, it appears he DID want to be caught.

Also in ITV’s Des, when he is being interviewed, he said that he “felt better” now that he had come clean for his heinous crimes.

Looking at this evidence, it appears Dennis wanted the police to find out what he had done.

When is Des next on ITV?

Des concludes TONIGHT (September 16, 2020) with episode three.

You can catch it on ITV at 9pm

You can watch episodes one and two NOW on the ITV Hub.

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