Serial killer Dennis Nilsen admitted he wished he could go back in time to “hammer a stake” through his “heart of misery” in a new book based on 6,000 pages of notes he left a friend.
Nilsen murdered at least 12 men in north London, chopping up their bodies before burying them or flushing their remains down drains and, in some cases, boiling their heads.
In extracts from notes penned while behind bars, to be published in a new autobiographical book this week, the psychotic murderer wallows in self-pity as he reflects on his miserable childhood.
He wrote: “If I could go back now to my childhood and, as an observer see again the small boy, I think I would like to hammer a stake through the heart of his misery.”
The controversial book, ‘History of a Drowning Boy’, is being published by RedDoor Press after Nilsen’s friend Mark Austin, who became a pen pal while jailed for life, edited down notes about the killer’s life.
In an attempt to examine the motives behind the murders, the book reveals Nilsen was sexually abused by his own grandfather around the age of five in a deserted Second World War bunker.
In the notes, he wrote: “I vaguely remember him as a tall, quiet, powerful figure who was for ever taking me off, out of the house, to remote locations outside Fraserburgh, when he invariably took with him a vacuum flask of “tea”.
“We would stop where the Waters of Philorth entered the sea, short of Inverallochy itself, and we’d sit beside a deserted World War II pillbox concrete bunker with its narrow slit windows. In that dark and cramped interior, he would give me a drink of the ‘tea’ from his flask and I would feel sleepy as he pulled down my short trousers.”
In the book, Nilsen posthumously admits to several new crimes, including a sex attack on a drunken soldier several years before he committed his first murder and the strangulation of at least two previously unknown male victims.
He wrote: “One of the surprising things about my stay in Cranley Gardens was that, in addition to all my other deeds, I half strangled at least another two men into unconsciousness there before they were used as sexual props to my drunken fantasies. To date, they have never come forward.”
Austin, who is married with two children, first wrote to Nilsen while the serial killer were serving life “out of curiosity” and, over the years, the pair ended up exchanging some 800 letters.
He also visited the murderer in prison about 70 times before Nilsen left him the 6,000 pages of notes written about his life during his incarceration.
His book, which has been branded “morally wrong” by some of the victim’s families, also tells of how Nilsen toyed with the idea of feeding the flesh of his victims to his dog, Bleep.
“There was certainly no suggestion of cannibalism, nor did my dog eat any human remains,” he said.
“When dissecting the corpses of the first two victims at Cranley Gardens (on the wooden board across the bath), I was able to reflect, rationally, on the culinary possibilities of fairly fresh, human meat but the thought only engaged me for a few moments.
“The thought of giving a small chunk to Bleep crossed my mind, but I didn’t want her to acquire a taste for human flesh — though she looked interested enough at the prospect of getting a piece.”
The memoirs provide an insight into his life as a category-A prisoner, telling of watching the Proms, listening to Radio 4 and doting on animals.
Despite his history of horrific violence towards young men, Nilsen reflects on his grief of seeing a seagull injured by the coil of a razor wire while in jail.
He said: “I noticed a black-headed gull was trapped by one of its legs and was hanging, struggling desperately in pain, from a coil of razor wire.
“The gull’s snow-white feathers were flecked by the bright red of its own blood and a pool of it had begun to form on the flat roof underneath.
“I just stood there and watched, grief-stricken, with a feeling of helplessness as tears began to form in my eyes.”