Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My First Victim by Mass Killer; in a Chilling Letter to the Standard from His Prison Cell,murderer Dennis Nilsen Identifies Boy of 14

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My First Victim by Mass Killer; in a Chilling Letter to the Standard from His Prison Cell,murderer Dennis Nilsen Identifies Boy of 14

Article excerpt

Byline: TIM BARLASS

GAY serial killer Dennis Nilsen speaks today about his first victim - a boy of 14 whose body he kept under the floorboards of his flat for eight months.

In an extraordinary letter sent to the Standard from his prison cell, Nilsen tells how he picked up Stephen Holmes in December 1978 in a pub.

He lured the boy to his flat in Cricklewood where he strangled him with a tie until he was semiconscious and then drowned him by holding his head in a bucket of water. It was the beginning of a series of gruesome murders of young men that went on until his arrest in 1983.

In the letter, Nilsen, 60, confesses: "Stephen Dean Holmes was the first of 12 homicide victims."

In fact it is known he killed at least 15 men, among them rent boys, students and the homeless. He sexually interfered with their corpses which he then dismembered. At least seven men remain unidentified. Nilsen promises to help police identify the rest of his victims, although Scotland Yard has ruled out ever knowing definitively the names of the others he murdered, usually by strangulation.

Nilsen, a civil servant in a job centre who had previously worked in the Army and police, was never charged with the offence because at the time of his trial Stephen could not be identified. But a

photograph of the boy, who was reported missing by his family in Kilburn, was shown to Nilsen last year by police at Full Sutton prison. The killer confirmed to detectives that the boy in the photograph was his first victim.

He said Stephen had spent the night with him after drinking heavily.

Nilsen says he decided to strangle him the next morning because he was fearful the boy would leave and he wanted some company for New Year.

He stuffed the boy's body under the floorboards where he left it decaying until August the following year when he Continued on Page 5 burned it on a bonfire in his back garden. He used the same method to dispose of several victims, raking their ashes into the ground.

Nilsen was only caught out after moving to a flat in Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, where he lived in the attic and had no access to a garden. …

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