Stay Dead


In this author’s opinion, the most disturbing aspect of the Nilsen case was this: even Dennis Nilsen didn’t know why he killed people. He was just as baffled as the police, his psychiatrists, the media, and his jury.

In his private letters about the murders, published by The Guardian in 1983, he wrote: “How many more words must I write without arriving at a smooth, compact conclusion? … How the hell do I know what motivated me to kill someone I had nothing against at that particular time? I had no control over it then… the more I write the less I know.”

He theorised for the rest of his life about what exactly had provoked his homicidal nature, but came to no definite conclusions. The only certainly was that he had killed. He had no idea why.

You and I, reader, are very much like Bleep in this respect. We snuffle around the detritus left in the aftermath of Nilsen’s horrific crimes, picking up scents which we hope might lead to some new understanding.

But at the end of the day, we are no more insightful than the dog was; there is no cause and effect that would explain all the horror, there is little about the substance of his deeply sick mind we can accept or comprehend.

Nilsen’s motives will stay dead, and buried.

Published by itshendo

Callum Henderson is a carbon-based life form who graduated with a degree in Journalism and Creative Writing from the University of Strathclyde in 2016.

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