Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dennis Nilsen

The Dangerous Stranger

195 Melrose Avenue
195 Melrose Avenue

Dennis Nilsen, 33, met the young man in the pub, late in 1978, and invited him home, to 195 Melrose Avenue in London. They continued to drink and eventually crawled into bed together to sleep. Nilsen woke up at dawn and realized that his new friend was now going to leave. He ran his hand over his bedmate's body, becoming aroused. His heart pounded and he began to sweat.

He watched the young man sleep and looked over at the pile of clothing they had both discarded. He spotted his tie, so he got out of bed to retrieve it.

"I raised myself and slipped it on under his neck," Nilsen wrote four years later. "I quickly straddled him and pulled tight for all I was worth. His body came alive immediately. We struggled off the bed onto the floor."

Nilsen tightened his grip, not about to let go and lose this battle to the death. His victim pushed himself with his feet, with Nilsen on top of him, along the carpet. When he came up against the wall, he lay there and grew limp, giving up. Nilsen relaxed, but realized the man was not yet dead, only unconscious. He ran into the kitchen and filled a plastic bucket full of water in order to drown the man. Nilsen lifted him onto some chairs, draping his head back, and pushed it into the bucket. The man did not struggle, although water splashed all over the carpet.

"After a few minutes," Nilsen recalled, "the bubbles stopped coming. I lifted him up and sat him on the armchair. The water was dripping from his short, brown curly hair."

He had just killed a man and did not even recall his name.

Nilsen sat there shaking, barely cognizant of what he had done and what he now faced as a result. He made himself a cup of coffee and smoked several cigarettes, trying to think what to do. His black-and-white dog, Bleep, came in from the garden and sniffed at the corpse in the chair. He ran the dog off and then sat down in shock. He removed the tie from the dead man's neck and just stared at him. Then he got up, put a towel over the window, and hoisted the corpse onto his shoulders to carry it into the bathroom.

Gently, Nilsen put him into the tub, ran water, and washed the man's hair. "He was very limp and floppy." He struggled to get him out of the tub and dry him off. Then he took him back into the other room and put him in the bed. His new friend was not going to leave him now.

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