How Dennis Nilsen died in ‘excruciating’ agony after 34 years in prison
16th September 2020

Tonight, on September 16, the last episode of the new ITV drama Des will air.

The three-part series has taken a closer look at the twisted crimes of Dennis Nilsen, portrayed by David Tennant.

Nilsen confessed to killing 15 men in London between 1978 and 1983.

He was eventually caught and charged with six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.

Nilsen was found guilty of all charges, and lived the remainder of his years in prison.

He was initially sent to Wormwood Scrubs, but was later moved to HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire.

Nilsen spent much of his prison life reading, writing, painting and translating books into Braille.

How did Dennis Nilsen die?

Dennis Nilsen died at the age of 72 on May 12 2018, after 34 years in prison.

The serial killer is said to have experienced “excruciating stomach pain” when he died.

The murderer was found “lying in his own faeces, steadily deteriorating”, after he had suffered an abdominal aortic aneurism, according to the inquest.

He had been taken to hospital for abdominal pains two days before he died.

  • Dennis Nilsen's sick solo sex act involving mirror as he pretended to be corpse

Nilsen had an operation, but later suffered a blood clot.

The medical cause of death was a pulmonary embolism and retroperitoneal haemorrhage, linked to the ruptured aneurysm.

Recording his full verdict, Hull coroner Professor Paul Marks said: “Dennis Andrew Nilsen died of natural causes.”

  • Tragic story of Kenneth Ockenden and how he fell into Dennis Nilsen's depraved clutches

David Tennant said it was “right and proper” that the show is being broadcast after he died.

He told Radio Times: “I would hate for this to go out and for him to be sitting in some cell somewhere imaging we were in any way glorifying him.

“I’m sure he would have complained about what we said and everything we did.

“At the same time, he would have been rather smugly pleased he was on television. I think it’s right and proper it’s transmitting after he’s gone.”

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