People kill for many different reasons, passion, money, love… you name it. These reasons might seem understandable due to the fickleness of human emotions and whatnot.

However, there are people on the other side of the divide who kill for outrightly weird and twisted reasons – these people we call psychopaths.

They are incapable of feeling and having affection and will kill for even the most unimaginable reasons. 

One such person is Nilsen Andrews Dennis (Des), known by different aliases, including The Kindly Killer, The British Jeffery Dahmer, and The Muswell Hill Killer.

The Scottish killer was a necrophile and an ephebophile(one attracted to post-adolescent and teenagers quite advanced in sexual maturity).

He, with time, summed up his resume with the “serial killer” title, having killed no less than 15 young men and boys by strangulation and drowning followed by dismemberment.  

Without much ado, let’s get you introduced to Des.

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10 /10 Life And Death

Nilsen was born in 1945 in Scotland to a Norwegian dad and a Scottish mom. Typical of some serial killers, he had an unhappy childhood characterized by an absentee father whose marriage to his mother was merely hanging on a thin rope. 

His parents later divorced, and Nilsen’s only father figure became his maternal grandfather, with whom he developed a very close relationship.

Shortly before he turned 6, his grandfather passed away from a heart attack while out at sea fishing.

Nilsen got to see his grandfather’s corpse, which significantly affected his psychology, making him somewhat of a recluse, refusing affection from other adults, and throwing him into an eternal pit of loneliness.


9 /10 It All Started With

His fear of being alone and needing what one may describe as “New Year’s eve company.” Nilsen’s first murder victim was a 14-year-old named Stephen Holmes, whom he murdered in 1978.

He met Holmes in a pub, and they both went back to Nilsen’s apartment (at Melrose Avenue) and drank themselves to sleep.  

Upon waking, Nilsen couldn’t let Holmes leave just yet, and so he strangled him with a necktie and drowned him in a bucket of water; don’t cringe yet; there’s more.

He later hid the body under the floorboards after masturbating twice over the corpse. Eight months later, he burnt the body in a bonfire built behind his flat.



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8 /10 More Stranglings And More Drownings

Nilsen’s targets were mostly homeless men, runaway young boys, male prostitutes, and people met at the gay pubs he frequented. A few were causal heterosexual men whom he lured, promising drinks and food at his home. 

After Holmes, there was Andrew Ho, a student from Hong Kong whom Nilsen lured home on the promise of sex. Andrew was able to escape strangulation and reported the incident to the police.

However, he deferred from pressing charges, and the police lost the chance at nabbing Nilsen before he was killed again.

7 /10 And He Did Kill Again

After Ho was 23-year-old Canadian tourist Kenneth Ockenden, Nilsen tricked into believing he (Nilsen) would give a London tour.

Nilsen reported strangling Kenneth while he was listening to music with his (Nilsen’s)headphones. 

He went further to strangle, drown, dismember and burn many more young men and boys at his Melrose residence, including Martyn Duffey, David Sutherland, and Malcolm Barlow, before the mid of 1981.

Nilsen always had to spray his flat twice daily to control the odor and flies from the decaying bodies overflowing under his floorboards. He recounted maggots were crawling out of the eye sockets and mouths of the corpses.

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6 /10 Moving To Muswell Hill

In October 1981, he moved into an apartment at 23D Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill, North London, where he stored dissected parts of his victims’ corpses in wardrobes, suitcases, and plastic bags.

His first victim in his attic flat was 23-year-old John Howlett, who struggled ferociously with Nilsen but was later strangled into unconsciousness. He later drowned him after further unsuccessful attempts at killing him. 

The next murder attempt was on 21-year-old Carl Stokker(in march 1982), which proved unsuccessful as he kept regaining consciousness.

Some months later, he murdered Andrew Graham and dissected his body after keeping him in his bathtub for three days.

5 /10 Time's Up For Des

Nilsen killed a total of three persons at his Muswell Hill residence. He dissected their bodies on his kitchen floor and flushed the parts down his toilet, causing a drainage blockage that required the necessary authorities to come to check it out. This was the beginning of the end of Nilsen’s necrophilic acts. 

An employee of the plumbing company called to check out the drainage issue noticed that the drain was filled with what looked like human remains, and alerted the proper authorities.

Further, inspection confirmed them to be human flesh and bones. Upon confronting and questioning Nilsen, he willingly confessed to the murders, directing the police to find the remains.

4 /10 Life And Death... In Prison

Nilsen was convicted of six murders and two attempted murders and sentenced to life in prison in 1983 with a minimum term set at 25 years which was later changed to a whole life tariff (he gets to stay in jail with no hope of ever being released).

In 1993 he was given the go-ahead to give a televised interview from prison and in 2006 was denied any request for parole. 

Nilsen was deemed a trouble maker in prison, bringing a couple of judicial reviews against the prison authorities’ decision not to allow him access to gay pornography or publish his autobiography – the history of a drowning boy. 

After spending, he died in 2018 at age 72 from surgery complications at HMP Full Sutton. His body was cremated, but no family member of his was present at the cremation service.

3 /10 Crisis With This Sexual Identity

For the longest time since attaining puberty, Nilsen struggled with picking between whether he was bisexual or gay.

To find out, he fondled his sister and his brother in their sleep but unfortunately for him, his brother woke up and caught him in the act. Since then, he nicknamed Nilsen “hen,” which is the Scottish slang for “girl.” 

He recorded that he later had sex with a female prostitute to be sure about his sexual orientation and described the experience as depressing, which confirmed that he was indeed gay.

A later argument on homosexuality with his brother sealed the end of their relationship for him.

2 /10 Life In Service

At age 14, Nilsen enlisted for the army and spent the first three years undergoing training at the Depot, Aldershot Barracks in Hampshire.

He was deployed to West Germany and then to Arden, Norway, to serve as a cook, which he described to be a very dangerous posting.

Following his unfulfillment in the army after 11 years of service and corporal rank, he left in October 1972.

He joined the metropolitan police in London in December of the same year. A year later, he resigned and found a job as a civil servant in 1974, where he stayed until his arrest in 1983.

1 /10 The Desire Started A While Ago

On one occasion at his station in Germany, Nilsen drank so much that he passed out only to find himself awake on the apartment floor.

From then onwards, he developed fantasies of sexual intercourse with an immobile partner and even wished for sex advances to be made at him anytime he pretended to be passed out.

He was also greatly influenced by the painting, The Raft of the Medusa. 

While serving in the Middle East, Nilsen would fantasize about being a corpse, covering himself with talc and bluing his lips, and masturbating to his image in the mirror.

The irony was that he never ended up a corpse(not until later) but instead made others real-life corpses by killing them. 

On the face of it, Nilsen could be mistaken for a shy, reserved young man who loved animals (he had a dog named Bleep) and just went about his business in 1970 London – he indeed was. But that wasn’t all there was to him.

On the flip side, he was twisted, dark, disturbed, and evil.  The next time your drain gets blocked, never rule out the possibility of a psycho around the corner.

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