A pregnant neighbour of serial killer Dennis Nilsen vanished at the height of his murders and was never heard from again, new papers reveal.
Nilsen murdered at least 15 men at his flat in North London, between 1978 and 1983, before human remains were discovered in a blocked drain at his flat and he was arrested.
Days after his arrest in 1983, the Department of Health and Social Security flagged suspicions with police over the disappearance of an unnamed young woman who had lived above Nilsen.
David Wilson, a criminologist and former prison governor who knew Nilsen, said it was ‘not outlandish,’ that the young woman might have known or seen too much activity at 195 Melrose Avenue, Cricklewood.
Serial killer Dennis Nilsen killed at least 15 men at his North London flat between 1978 and 1983
Recently unearthed papers reveal a neighbour of Nilsen’s at 175 Melrose Avenue, Cricklewood, vanished at the height of his murders. Police were informed of the pregnant woman’s disappearance following his arrest in 1983
Serial killer Nilsen died aged 72, in 2018, while serving a life sentence for killing young men in the 70s and 80s who were mostly drifters he met in pubs.
In all of the cases, the victims were either gay, or Nilsen suspected them of being gay.
According to The Times, an upstairs neighbour disappeared in 1981 without a trace.
The woman, whose name and date of birth are redacted, was given a three-week order book for benefits in December 1981, but never returned to claim any money.
A note from February 17, 1983, a day after Nilsen’s arrest, found that there had been ‘no trace of the girl,’ since she had been handed the book.
Prior to his arrest, Nilsen had worked at a job centre in Denmark Street, London. He had previously been employed as an army chef and a trainee police officer.
But he lived a twisted life, slaughtering more than a dozen men in the late 1970s and 1980s.
David Tennant portrayed the twisted serial killer in ITV drama Des, which aired earlier this year
Nilsen would lure vulnerable men back to his home and kill them, usually by strangling them.
Once dead, he dismembered the bodies and dissected them.
His crimes were detailed in ITV drama Des, with David Tennant portraying the Aberdeenshire-born serial killer.
Mr Wilson added: ‘There is no such thing as a coincidence when you are dealing with a serial killer. For a woman to have disappeared . . . from the house in which a serial killer was living is something to be taken very seriously. I have never known it suggested that there could have been a female victim.’
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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.