15 September 2020 20:34

The second episode of Des, which tells the story of Fraserburgh-born serial killer Dennis Nilsen, will air tonight.

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Sign up to our newsletter for daily updates and breaking news Sign up here! Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Invalid Email Around 5.4 million viewers tuned in to watch David Tennant portray a notorious serial killer who would hide victims under floorboards and cut up their bodies. Dennis 'Des' Nilsen committed horrific crimes against at least 12 men and boys who were either homeless or homosexual. During the years of 1978 an 1983, he lured people to his home where he would strangle them until they lost consciousness, before drowning them in the sick, bath or by pouring water over them. When he lived in Melrose Avenue, in London, he hid bodies under the floorboards, but then he moved to Cranley Gardens where he then dismembered the victims before flushing body parts down the toilet.

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A neighbour discovered the drains were blocked and believed they had rotting flesh inside so called specialists for help. That's when the police were called and Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay was called onto the case to investigate. It was this that led to his heinous crimes being discovered. Was Dennis Nilsen Scottish and where was he from? The man behind the unthinkable crimes was Des - as he used to call himself to appear more approachable to his victims.

He was born in Fraserburgh, outside Aberdeenshire in Scotland, on November 23, 1945. He was born to Elizabeth Duthie Whyte and Olav Magnus Moksheim - who adopted the Nilsen surname - and was the second of three children, the middle child. It would be 33 years later that he began his five-year killing spree. Dennis Nilsen confessed to killing 15 people but could only name four, and detectives believe he killed at least 12. At the Old Bailey murder trial, he was found guilty of six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. He was handed a life sentenced on November 4, 1983, and in May 2018 was discovered collapsed in his prison cell lying in his own faeces. How was Dennis Nilsen arrested and jailed? (Image: Robert Viglasky/ITV) Nilsen - or the 'Kindly Killer' as he was also known - was arrested in February 1983 by Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay, played by Daniel Mays, who lived in Datchworth, Hertfordshire. He was taken to Brixton Prison before trial and showed little remorse. He wrote more than fifty notebooks of his gruesome memories to help the prosecution, and his 'sad sketches' showed the impact his crimes had on the victims. The trial began on October 24, 1983 with Nilsen charged with six counts of murder and two charges of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and cited diminished responsibility due to mental defect. Sign up to the HertsLive newsletter If you're looking for a way to stay up to date with the latest breaking news from around Hertfordshire, the HertsLive newsletter is a good place to start. The daily update will deliver the top news and features to your inbox. We choose the most important stories of the day to include in the newsletter, including crime, court news, long reads, traffic and travel, food and drink articles and more. Signing up to the newsletter is simple. Just put your email address in the box at the top of this story and click 'subscribe'. It's one of the many ways that you can read the news that matters to you from HertsLive. The defence case heavily relied on the testimony of Dr. James MacKeith and Dr. Patrick Gallwey, two psychiatrists. They went into some detail about Nilsen's troubled childhood and inability to express feelings. The judgement about Nilsen's diminished responsibility was eventually dropped after Dr. Paul Bowden was brought in to refute the claims, with the psychologist stating Nilsen had a manipulative nature and was responsible for his actions despite showing some mental abnormalities. On November 3, 1983, the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict. The following day, however, the judge agreed to accept a majority verdict. The jury then delivered a verdict of guilty on all six counts of murder. Dennis Nilsen was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole for at least 25 years. Is Dennis Nilsen still alive? Nilsen died aged 72 in the maximum security prison HMP Full Sutton, York, in May 2018. An inquest into his death heard he spent his final moments lying in his own faeces as he died from internal bleeding in his prison cell. Hull Coroner's Court heard how he died in 'excruciating pain' after suffering a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. When is Des on ITV? The programme is set to be shown on ITV on September 14, 15 and 16 at 9pm. The second episode of Des, which tells the story of Fraserburgh-born serial killer Dennis Nilsen, will air tonight. Doctor Who star David Tennant will continue his portrayal of the Muswell Hill Murderer at 9pm. You can watch the first episode on STVPlayer here, or read our review below. David Tennant praised for chilling portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen Viewers reacted positively to last night's first episode, with David Tennant praised for his "spine chilling" resemblance to the killer, with another adding "a difficult watch, but he's a compelling presence on screen2. There was even praise for how well the actor managed to portray both Nilsen's mannerisms and his accent. The series is told from the perspective of the killer, who died in prison in 2018 at the age of 72. He carried out a murder spree in the late 70s and 80s, killing as many as 15 young men, many of them homeless homosexuals after luring them into his north London home. The three-part drama is based on material from Masters' book Killing For Company and covers Nilsen's arrest and trial. Who was Dennis Nilsen? Nilsen, who was born on November 23, 1945, grew up in the north-east after his dad Olav, a Norwegian soldier, left the family. His grandad Andrew Whyte became the father figure in his life, and the pair became close. Nilsen was a few weeks short of his sixth birthday when his grandfather died. It was the second time a "father" had left him, and he was convinced the trauma of his loss had a lasting impact on him and indeed put him on the path to murder. After his death on October 31, 1951, Mr Whyte's body was returned to the family home. Nilsen's mother took him to see his grandfather's body – although she told him he was sleeping. Nilsen believed it was this failure to explain death to him which provided the catalyst for the crimes he committed later in life. He was jailed for life in 1983, with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years, for six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.

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