Case 144

The Muswell Hill Murderer

*** Content Warning: necrophilia, LGBTQ+ victims, cannibalism ***

[Part 2 of 3]

By the time Dennis Nilsen moved out of his flat at 195 Melrose Avenue in Cricklewood, he had already taken the lives of twelve victims. Eager to start afresh, he set himself up on the top floor at 23 Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill and focused on putting the past behind him.

But it doesn’t take long before his desire to kill creeps back in, and this time, his secrets aren’t so safe. Nilsen goes to great lengths to conceal his crimes but the Muswell Hill flat has different ideas in store.



Casefile Presents



Research – Holly Boyd

Writing – Elsha McGill 

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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Murders That Shocked the Nation: John Christie and 10 Rillington Place



Killing for Company: The Case of Dennis Nilsen – by Brian Masters

Dennis Nilsen: Conversations with Britain’s Most Evil Serial Killer – by Russell Coffey

Murder in Mind: Dennis Nilsen – by Raj Persaud, Brian Masters, and Colin Wilson

The Black Museum: New Scotland Yard – by Bill Waddell

London: from Plunk to Blair (a selection of essays): Gay London – by Mark W Turner (from page 50)



Interview with Dennis Nilsen (shown in the programme “Murder In Mind”, Carlton TV, 1993) conducted by Paul Britton (October 1992)

Killing For Company BBC 2 1991 Dennis Nilsen Documentary with Brian Masters

Real Crime: A mind to murder: Dennis Nilsen (S03E04) 2003 (Full Documentary)

Born to Kill? Dennis Nilsen: The Kindly Killer – Documentary 2005, Season 3, Episode 5

Dennis Nilsen Home Movie Clips (mid-1970s)

Britain’s Most Evil Killers, “Dennis Nilsen” (Season 1, Episode 8), 21 April 2017



Brittain, R. P. (1970). The Sadistic Murderer. Medicine, Science and the Law, 10(4), 198–207.

MacCulloch, M. J., Snowden, P. R., Wood, P. J. W. and Mills, H. E. (1983) ‘Sadistic Fantasy, Sadistic Behaviour and Offending’. British Journal of Psychiatry 143: 20–9.

MacCulloch M, Gray, N & Watt, A (2000) Brittain’s Sadistic Murderer Syndrome reconsidered: an associative account of the aetiology of sadistic sexual fantasy, The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 11:2, 401-418.



Dennis Nilsen: I have no tears for these victims – The Guardian (26 October 1983)

Defence psychiatrist probes Nilsen’s mind and motives – The Guardian (27 October 1983)

The nameless disorder of Dennis Nilsen – The Guardian (28 October 1983)

“Killings had no normal motive” – Psychiatrist – The Guardian (29 October 1983)

Psychiatrist backs Crown Case that Nilsen is not mentally ill – The Guardian (1 November 1983)

Crown press for murder verdict as Nilsen trial comes to its end – The Guardian (2 November 1983)

Nilsen convicted of murder and jailed for life – The Guardian (5 November 1983)

‘Living nightmare’ baffled by his own success – The Guardian (November 5 1983) – Accessed via

Marketing horror at Nilsen’s flat – The Guardian (28 November 1983)

Nilsen TV interview banned – The Independent (20 January 1993)

Nilsen interview broadcast after appeal is rejected – The Independent (27 January 1993)

Interview: Empathy for the devil: Brian Masters… – The Independent (31 January 1993)

Killer’s book challenge can proceed – BBC News (25 October 2001)

Woman living in Dublin told her brother was first victim of killer – The Irish Times (13 January 2006)

Dennis Nilsen’s extraordinary letter – Daily Mail (9 November 2006)

Met Police’s infamous Black Museum of chilling evidence could become a tourist attraction – The Mirror (7 August 2013)

‘This man is a monster, he should not be allowed a voice’: Murder victim’s brother makes desperate plea to stop Dennis Nilsen’s memoirs being published – Daily Mail (10 November 2013)

Buyer found for serial killer Dennis Nilsen’s London flat as its gruesome history cuts price to £300k – The Mirror (6 June 2015)

Dennis Nilsen: ‘Why I will never fight for my freedom’ – The Press and Journal (16 November 2016)

Why I wrote to serial killer Dennis Nilsen…And see his letters for the first time – The Press and Journal (18 November 2016)

Serial killer Dennis Nilsen dies in prison aged 72 – The Guardian (13 May 2018)

Fiend’s boiling in hell: Dennis Nilsen dead at 72… dies after crippling gut pains in prison – The Scottish Sun (12 May 2018)

Made a killing: We bought Dennis Nilsen’s murder home… – The Scottish Sun (17 May 2018)

The secret funeral and cremation of north-east killer Dennis Nilsen cost the taxpayer £3,300 – The Press and Journal (2 July 2018)

Dennis Nilsen: Serial killer died in ‘excruciating pain’ – The BBC (23 October 2019)

Dennis Nilsen: Serial killer ‘lay dying in his own filth’ in prison cell inquest hears – The Independent (24 October 2019)

Serial Killer Dennis Nilsen thought he was a sick genius…but he was a deluded psychopath and his letters still make my blood run cold (Russ Coffey) – Daily Mail (14 May 2018)

ITV commissions three-part drama, Des – with David Tennant as Dennis Nilsen – ITV (22 November 2019)

ITV series about killer Dennis Nilsen angers victims families – The Daily Mail (28 December 2019)



R (Nilsen) v Governor of HMP Full Sutton & Secretary of State for the Home Department [2003] EWHC 3160 (Admin)

[Appeal] R (Nilsen) v Governor of HMP Full Sutton & Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] EWCA Civ 1540

Dennis Andrew NILSEN v the United Kingdom – 36882/05 [2010] ECHR 470



Prisons and Probation Ombudsman Fatal Incident Report – Independent Investigation into the death of Dennis Nilsen a prisoner at HMP Full Sutton on 12 May 2018, published 24 October 2019



Parliamentary Debate, House of Lords (in Committee and in Chambers) (9 February 2012)

Hansard 1985, Written Questions and Answers (Commons), Attorney General
Referring to the Obscene Publications Act 1959

Human Rights Act – Reporting in the Media (HC 1049 UK Bill of Rights Commission) (Session 2010-12), Written evidence submitted by Helen Wildbore, Human Rights Futures Project (14 July 2011)



Memoirs of a Serial Killer – Sunday Time Magazine Cover Story (Crosseyed Cat; Russ Coffey) (7 September 2003)

QX Magazine Feature – West End Boys

A timeline of LGBTQ communities in the UK



Dennis Nilsen’s Autobiography – Blog (has a short extract from Nilsen’s unpublished manuscript Nilsen’s History of a Drowning Boy, regarding the death of his grandfather)

Shane Levene

“Hero” Serial Killers – Psychology Today (26 June 2016)



Pound Sterling Live



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