: “The only good thing about this poky, dank place is that it is close to a big park down the road.”
There are indeed three large parks is the Muswell Hill area, each a mere ten minute walk from Cranley Gardens: Crouch End Playing Fields, Highgate Wood, and Alexandra Palace Capital Gardens. It is very likely that Bleep and Nilsen would have visited all three at one time or another.
: “Tonight Master came home with another guest.”
Nilsen met 21-year-old Carl Stotter in the Black Cap pub in April of 1982, and stuck up conversation with him.
Stotter, an occasional drag performer, was drinking alone; deeply miserable following a breakup he’d had from an abusive partner from Blackpool he’d been dating for some time. In need of a shoulder to cry on, Stotter welcomed Nilsen’s outward kindness and words of comfort. Nilsen told him not to throw his life away over one failed relationship, and that he had a lot to live for yet.
Heartened, Stotter felt a little kinship with (and a slight attraction to) Nilsen. He agreed to come with Nilsen back to his flat at Muswell Hill.
: “He was young, with clear skin and white teeth and deep brown eyes and yellow hair on his head.”
I have based this description of Stotter on pictures of him taken during his youth. As an aspiring drag performer, I also imagined that he would use perfume, and thus would have an appealing scent which would endear Bleep to him.
: “The man wanted to look like he liked it, but I could tell he didn’t.”
According to Stotter’s own testimony, Nilsen kept trying to ply him with alcohol. However Stotter felt as though he had already had too much, and sobered up a little while the two of them talked.
: “His hands were gentle.”
Based on later interviews with Stotter, and having observed his manner, I concluded that Bleep and Stotter were very much alike in temperament: two gentle, kindly souls who had their lives ruined by Nilsen.
: “Master fetched a padded bag for the man to sleep in.”
Nilsen convinced Stotter to sleep in a sleeping bag, but warned him that ‘The zip sticks.’ This seemingly innocuous comment was later also used by the prosecution at Nilsen’s trial to argue premeditation. They asserted that, since zips rarely stick on sleeping bags, Nilsen was planning on killing Stotter earlier that night, and was already planting an excuse in case Stotter escaped somehow.
: “It had its hands around my friend’s neck.”
This is a slight embellishment. What actually happened is that Nilsen attempted to choke Stotter with the zipper of his sleeping bag, drawing it right up to his throat. In later interviews regarding the incident, Stotter recounts that he woke to a ‘terrible pressure’ and felt the teeth of the zipper biting into his neck before he struggled and passed out.
: “Then I heard a voice whisper: ‘Stay.'”
A slight embellishment – Stotter contends that the first thing he heard upon waking up to feel his throat being constricted was Nilsen commanding him to “stay still.” Since the command ‘Stay” is more recognisable to a dog, I have modified Nilsen’s statement here.
: “I could hear splashing.”
Understandably, Stotter’s recollections of the subject of the late-night attack are vague and cloudy. He remembers certain details, but his memory is foggy; likely due to the effects of PTSD, as well as the oxygen supply being cut off to the brain during the attempted murder.
: “I put my paws on his broad chest and licked his face to make him live.”
his detail seems like dramatic license, but it is completely true, and was confirmed by Nilsen in police interviews and by Stotter in his testimony during Nilsen’s trial. Stotter explicitly recalls waking up after his ordeal to find Bleep licking his face.
It was this which led Nilsen to realise that he was still alive. He either snapped out of his killing urge and was stuck with remorse, or made the conscious descicion to resuscitate Stotter. He spent the rest of the evening rubbing him dry, performing the kiss-of-life, and lay next to him in bed to keep him warm.
Yet it was undoubtably Bleep who saved Stotter’s life. Readers whose hearts go out to the innocent animal should take small comfort in her achievement on that night.