Clogged pipes, a common problem in many buildings, led to the arrest of one of the most disturbed murderers in British history, Dennis Nielsen, thought to have killed and dismembered up to 15 mostly homeless young men.
He’d hang on to his victims for months, they’d keep him company, he’d watch TV with them and it is believed he might have also eaten parts of the bodies to keep them forever with him.
Dennis Nielsen was arrested in 1983 following the gruesome discovery made by a repairman called to fix the plumbing at a building in a quiet London neighborhood.
Residents had been complaining for weeks about the pipes, including Nielsen who had a vital interest in the problem being fixed.
Who Flushed Their KFC Meal?
The macabre discovery was made by a plumber called Michael Cattran who’d been doing this job for years and was pretty much used to the disgusting filth found in the sewers.
On the morning of February 8, 1983, he opened a drain cover at 23 Cranley Gardens in the Gladstone Park area of London.
Cattran steeled himself preparing for the worst, but what he discovered left him speechless. He’d never see this sort of mess before.
“It looks to me like someone has been flushing down their Kentucky Fried Chicken,” said a resident, curiously watching the scene.
The blockage did, in fact, look like meat, with small fragments of bone poking out here in there. Only it did not resemble chicken at all, Cattran thought.
It looked a lot like human flesh. The police would soon confirm that it was indeed meat of human origin clogging the pipes and the investigation quickly led them to the culprit.
The curious bystander who quipped it looked like a KFC meal, 38-year old Dennis Nielsen who had moved in the building less than two years before.
Nielsen Preyed On Homeless Teenagers
Dennis Nielsen’s first victim was a 14-year old boy he’d picked up in a bar. The year was 1978, and the date December 30, one day before New Year’s Eve, the worst time of the year for lonely people.
Nielsen convinced Stephen Holmes to come back with him for a drink, but could not face the idea of the boy leaving in the morning.
So he strangled the teenager with a necktie until he lost consciousness and then drowned him in the bathtub. He had decided Stephen would “stay with me over the New Year whether he wanted to or not”.
Nielsen lived on Melrose Avenue at the time and had a flat with a garden, which made body disposal much easier. The killer kept the body under the floorboards for seven months, before burning the remains over a bonfire.
By the end of 1979, Dennis Nielsen was ready to kill again and for the following four years, he was never alone.