Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dennis Nilsen

"The Beginning of the End"

Dennis Nilsen
Dennis Nilsen

He ran his hand over the still-warm flesh, noticing the slight discoloration of his lips and face. He pulled the bedclothes over him and sat on the bed, trying to think.

"It was the beginning of the end of my life as I had known it," Nilsen wrote. "I had started down the avenue of death and possession of a new kind of flat-mate."

Rather than being appalled by the sight of a corpse, he thought it quite beautiful. He did not really know why he had killed the young man. He just had not wanted him to leave. He had spent Christmas alone and did not want to do the same for New Year's. Now he had someone to spend it with.

Later that day he went to a hardware store to buy an electric knife and a large pot, but he could not bring himself to cut the body up this way. Instead, he opened some new underwear and dressed the body. Then Nilsen took a bath.

That's when he decided to try to have sex with the corpse. He got into bed, but could not sustain the arousal he had felt moments earlier, so he pulled the body off the bed and laid it on the floor. He used a curtain to cover it. He got into the bed and fell asleep.

Later he got up, made dinner and watched television with the body still lying there on the floor not far away.

Finally he knew he needed to do something. He pried loose some floorboards and tried to shove the body into the space, but rigor mortis had set in, preventing him from maneuvering. He stood the body against the wall, deciding to wait until the stiffness passed.

However, the next day, he was still standing there against the wall, so Nilsen laid him down and worked on his limbs to loosen them. Finally he was able to get him into his grave under the floor. He covered the corpse with boards.

After a week, Nilsen grew curious, so he lifted the carpet and opened up the floor once again. The corpse was dirty, so Nilsen carried it back into the bathroom to wash it. Then Nilsen washed himself in the same water. When he carried the body back to the living room, he was so aroused that he knelt down and masturbated into the corpse's stomach. Rather than stuff him beneath the floor again, he trussed him up by the ankles. Eventually it went back under the floorboards. It remained there for seven and a half months, until Nilsen took it out and burned the remains in a bonfire. He added rubber to the fire to mask the smell of burning flesh. He raked the ashes into the ground.

The young man was never identified.

Nilsen was astonished that he was able to get away with this and believed it would never happen again. He was wrong. It would happen fourteen more times.


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