Dennis Nilsen’s victims and what happened to them after meeting serial killer

ITV’s newest true crime drama Des focuses on one of the most notorious killers in UK history – Dennis Nilsen.

Nilsen, who is played by David Tennant in the show, spent five years murdering boys and men in London between 1978 and 1983.

Most of the men were homeless, and he would meet and befriend them on the streets before offering them food or lodgings at his North London flat.

The victims were often off the grid, and welcomed the strangers’ generosity.

Nilsen was finally caught on February 9, 1983 – after killing a total of 15 men.

However, he couldn’t remember any of his victims’ names.

Nilsen was eventually convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.

He was sentenced to life in prison in November 1983, but died in May 2018.

Dennis Nilsen’s victims

Stephen Holmes

Nilsen’s first victim was 14-year-old Stephen Holmes who was murdered on December 30, 1978.

The sadistic killer met him in the Cricklewood Arms pub, and brought him back to his flat to have a drink.

There Stephen was strangled and drowned in a bucket of water, and his body was buried under the floorboards at 195 Melrose Avenue.

It remained there for eight months before Nilsen burned his corpse in the garden.

Kenneth Ockenden

23-year-old Canadian student Kenneth Ockenden was killed on December 3, 1979.

He had been on a tour around Britain when he met Nilsen in a pub, and was invited back to his flat for a meal.

Nilsen strangled him with a headphone cord.

Martyn Duffey

Martin Duffey, 16, was murdered on May 17, 1980.

Nilsen drowned him before bathing with his corpse.

William Sutherland

William Sutherland, a 26-year-old from Edinburgh, was killed in August 1980.

Nilsen met the father-of-one at a pub near Piccadilly Circus.

However, the serial killer could not remember much about how he murdered him when he was questioned.

Malcolm Barlow

Malcolm Barlow, 23, was murdered on September 18, 1981.

The orphan who spent time at various care homes was the last victim to die at Melrose Avenue.

Nilsen found him on the street and took him back to his flat.

John Howlett

John Howlett was the first of Nilsen’s victims to be murdered at Cranley Gardens.

The 23-year-old from High Wycombe was strangled as he slept in March 1982.

He had woken up while Nilsen was strangling him, but was later drowned in the bathtub.

Graham Allen


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Nilsen murdered Graham Allen in September 1982.

The 27-year-old father-of-one had tried to call a taxi on Shaftesbury Avenue.

The murderer had made him an omelette before straining him.

Some of his remains were found in a drain at Cranley Gardens.

Stephen Sinclair

Stephen Sinclair was Nilsen’s final murder victim.

The 20-year-old from Perth was addicted to drugs when he met Nilsen on Oxford Street.

He died on January 26, 1983 after Nilsen had invited him back to his home and strangled him.

Des airs Monday-Wednesday on ITV at 9pm

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