Des viewers were left gobsmacked this evening after David Tennant’s Dennis Nilsen pleaded not guilty to the murders of three men – despite previously admitting his crimes.
The second episode of the gripping three-part ITV drama saw Nilsen (played by the Broadchurch and Doctor Who star) grow increasingly frustrated with both the conditions at his Category A prison and the lack of attention he was receiving from police as they continued their search to identify the serial killer’s victims.
At the end of the show, Nilsen, who is believed to have killed as many as 15 men at his homes in Cricklewood and Muswell Hill, north London, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, shocked viewers by claiming he wasn’t guilty of any crime.
‘After all that he pleads not guilty? Seriously messed up! This is gripping stuff,’ one astonished viewer wrote.
At the end of the show, Nilsen, who is believed to have killed as many as 15 men at his homes in Cricklewood and Muswell Hill, north London , in the late 1970s and early 1980s, shocked viewers by claiming he wasn’t guilty of any crime
Sharing their thoughts on Twitter, another viewer said: ‘Excuse me what? My heart dropped in my chest when he said ‘not guilty’. God give these families peace.’
A third added: ‘How can he admit everything then plead not guilty?’
While a fourth wrote: ‘”Not guilty = a trial = more attention and in the spotlight. Dennis knows what he’s doing.’
One of the nation’s most notorious killers, Nilsen died at the age of 74 in 2018 at HMP Full Sutton, 34 years into his life sentence – he was charged with murder after his drains had been found to be blocked with human remains.
Twitter users were left perplexed by the turn of events at the end of the second installment of the gripping series, taking to social media to explain it was ‘messed up’
At the end of tonight’s episode, Nilsen was asked at his hearing how he pleads to three counts of murder – and left the courtroom shocked when pleading not guilty.
Earlier in the show, Scottish-born Nilsen, also known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, lost his calm demeanour after police failed to improve his living conditions or discover what had happened to his beloved dog.
In a tense conversation with Detective Inspector Peter Jay (played by Line of Duty star Daniel Mays), the murderer, who had been open and candid about his crimes until then, refused to answer any further questions after not being given any information about his pet.
‘How’s Bleep?’, Nilsen asked the officer, who replied: ‘Well you made it pretty busy for me the last time I was here, Des. Haven’t had a chance to ask about your dog.’
Earlier in the episode, Nilsen had sent police into a frenzy when claiming he’d killed missing person 23-year-old Canadian tourist Kenneth Ockendon after meeting him in a pub.
The second episode of the gripping three-part ITV drama saw Nilsen grow increasingly frustrated with both the conditions at his Category A prison and the lack of attention he was receiving from police
But the inspector’s excuses weren’t good enough for the serial killer, who quickly shot back with his complaints: ‘I am sick of helping people who take advantage of my good nature. I think I’m deserving of more balance.’
Doing his best to ignore Nilsen, DI Jay asked: ‘Did you kill these men? How many people did you kill in Melrose Avenue? Did you kill Kenneth Ockendon?’
But Nilsen was determined to be heard, explaining: ‘If I hadn’t wanted you to, you wouldn’t have found me so why would I lie to you now?
‘I’ve been convicted of no crimes as of yet, therefore I am innocent until proven guilty. Where is this coming from? In Category A like I’m some kind of dangerous prisoner, will I escape? Intimidate a witness? I’m your only witness.’
During the latest episode, the murderer, who had previously been open and candid about his crimes, refuses to answer any further questions after not being given any information about his pet
‘This man has a seven-year-old son, do the right thing and look at the f****** photos,’ pleaded DI Jay. ‘Did you kill this man?’
But to the astonishment of viewers, the serial killer replied: ‘No comment.’
Later in the show, an emotional Nilsen discovered his beloved dog has died, with the murderer’s biographer revealing the news moments before the criminal’s hearing.
‘Des, Bleep was put down by the dogs home. She became ill not soon after you’d been arrested and they thought it would be kinder that way.’
A distraught Nilsen admitted: ‘She forgave me everything and never let me down, and then the moment of her greatest crisis, I wasn’t there for her.’
Also in the episode, the officers working on the case became increasingly annoyed by Scotland Yard bosses suggesting they don’t need to discover all the identities of Nilsen’s victims as it would costf too much money.
Explaining that the price of the team’s overtime was already ‘too much’, the chiefs stopped the investigation and took it to court after just six of Nilsen’s potential 15 victims were discovered.
Des continues Wednesday, 9pm, ITV.
Dennis Nilsen: The Muswell Hill murderer who slaughtered 15 men
Dennis Nilsen killed at least 15 men over a period of six years in London in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Most of his victims were homosexual or homeless men who he would pick up in bars across London or on the street.
After inviting them to his home, Nilsen would ply his victims with food and alcohol before killing then. His preferred method was strangulation.
Once dead, he dismembered their bodies by dissecting them in his house. In his first address, Melrose Avenue, he buried their remains in the garden. In Cranley Gardens however he was forced to take other measures.
Once arrested he told police how he boiled the heads of his victims in a large cooking pot to dispose of their brains.
Nilsen (right), with a prison warden at his side, after he was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years imprisonment after being convicted of six murders and two attempted murders at the Old Bailey
He would cut up the rest of their bodies and store them in plastic bin bags at the property. When the stench of their rotting corpses became stronger, he tried to flush their limbs down the toilet and drains.
This caused a large blockage in the pipes. Seemingly oblivious to risk, Nilsen audaciously complained to a waste company about the blockage and asked for it to be resolved because he and other residents were suffering as a result.
When a worker Dyno-Rod arrived at the property in 1983 to unblock them, he discovered what appeared to be flesh and fragments of bone when he opened a drain cover outside the property.
The following day, after inspecting another section of pipe, he and his supervisor discovered what they thought were bones of a human hand.
They alerted police who arrested Nilsen as he returned home from work. While in custody he admitted to killing at least 15 people.