Inside the House of Horrors where Dennis Nilsen chopped and cooked his victims


Set in an idyllic location in leafy Muswell Hill, with a balcony offering breathtaking views over North London, Flat 23D Cranley Gardens seems like a dream home.But there’s a very sinister reason why buyers are reluctant to even visit the seemingly perfect North London property over the years.

It once belonged to the famous soap opera Dennis Nilsen.

That alone may be enough to deter people from living there, but it’s even worse.

Nilsen committed three of his 15 estimated murders of vulnerable young men inside after luring them in by promising them alcohol and food.

The twisted killer hid the corpses of his victims under the floor of his old home in Cricklewood before burning them outside when the stench got too strong.

But without a garden in his neighboring house, he resorted to dismembering his victims, boiling body parts in his kitchen for the flesh to dissolve, then tossing smaller parts down the toilet.

Apartment 23, Cranley Gardens, Muswell Hill, North London, was where Denis Nilsen killed and hid his victims

Nilsen had already killed between 9 and 12 young men when he moved into the attic at Muswell Hill on October 5, 1981.

Before his capture 16 months later, he lured three more and murdered them.

The sick necrophiliac was caught by accident after the drains became clogged with pieces of rotting corpses he tried to flush out.

He and other tenants in his apartment building complained to the landlord about the smell of sewage, which is said to be his downfall.

Police were called after the Dyno-Rod drain cleaning company visited the property and discovered a flesh-like substance eaten by rats.

A police search then revealed the bodies of three men in a cabinet, a tea chest of drawers and a chest of drawers.

They then turned to his old Melrose Avenue home, Cricklewood, where they made more gruesome discoveries.

Dennis Nilsen is one of the most notorious serial killers in British criminal history

Almost 40 years after the final murder, the house was put on the market for the second time in a year in April 2015.

It had previously been auctioned off for £ 250,000 in 2013, but was not thought to have been occupied before it went on sale.

The property, which had undergone a spectacular renovation, has been described as a ‘well presented top floor one double bedroom apartment with its own private balcony’.

But buyers received a horrific warning about the listing home’s grim past.


Mike Cattran, drainage worker, made the terrible discovery of body parts

Despite this, there were around 100 inquiries for the property in the first six weeks it was on the market.

But only one in 20 people dared to see the house of horror.

At the time, Reuben John, Paul Simon’s realtors whose job it is to sell the apartment, said: “We often have one person in every couple who doesn’t care about their past, and who definitely doesn’t want to. not live there.

“It has been very well renovated but there is a lot about it on the internet and it was a really big story at the time, which means it’s still in people’s memory.

“One of our photographs on the advertisements looks a lot like the forensic photographs.

“It’s taken from the same angle as it was at the time that showed pans on the hob he used to boil the shredded bodies.

Cranley Gardens
Photos of the renovated apartment looked like forensic snapshots

“The person who bought it wanted to refurbish it and then sell it back for a little bit of money – but that didn’t happen.

“I’m on common ground with this.

“If I was looking for a house in Muswell Hill and my budget was only £ 300,000, I would definitely go.

“We’re looking for a buyer who cares about the future and doesn’t care about the past – that buyer just hasn’t walked through the door yet. ”

In a Mirror Online poll, only 375 people said they could live in a house where murders had taken place.

Many would-be buyers have been put off by the home’s gruesome history, with people who were not alive when the murders took place knowing about its dark past.

Cranley Gardens
The house has been completely renovated

A woman who watched him said: “I was not even born when these murders took place, but everyone here knows what happened.

“I’m sure it will make a nice house for someone – and a good deal – but I wouldn’t be spending the night under this roof.” ”

However, a cash buyer was found in June 2015 and offered the total asking price of £ 300,000.

A former tenant of the spacious house, who lived under the murder apartment, said she only had fond memories of living there.

Frances, 27, who has lived in the apartment below for two years, said: “I lived here for a year with two friends and had a great time so I never had good relations with the house.

“It had been nicely refurbished and never felt spooky to us.

“The perks of living in a place known as a serial killer’s address were that the taxi drivers always knew our route, and that made the rent cheaper as our landlady couldn’t always find ready tenants. to forget its history. “

Cranley Gardens
It has a balcony with stunning views over London

Then in 2017, Nilsen’s old house returned to the market – but with an incredibly higher asking price.

The fully refurbished apartment has been listed for over £ 30,000 above the average asking price for the area – despite its gruesome past.

“Being able to walk to the Highgate tube makes it easy for us to get to work or to socialize,” the ad read.

“Our separate private entrance and south-facing garden allow for privacy and feel like a home. ”

The house had been destroyed from its original asking price of £ 525,000 after failing to sell.

Still, he climbed almost £ 200,000 in less than two years after being extended from a twin bed.

Cranley Gardens
The Cranley Gardens house has been sold several times

While Nilsen’s Melrose Avenue apartment, where he hid 12 bodies under the ground, went for a reduced price in spring 2016.

Intrepid first-time buyers Bruno and Mathilde paid £ 493,000, around 10% less than other similar properties in the area.

After completing a Grand Designs-style makeover, he looked unrecognizable from the maggot infested horror house where Nilsen killed and hid his victims.

The couple even grew fruits and vegetables in the garden where Nilsen burned piles of corpses and hid teeth and bone fragments.

The kitchen where mass murderer Dennis Nilsen chopped up and killed his victims

“We know a lot of people wouldn’t live here. But the moment people see what this place looks like, it puts it at peace, ”they told The Sun in 2018.

“If you compare what the apartment was with what the apartment is, it has nothing to do with what happened 35 years ago. ”

Admitting that their real estate agent had urged them to search the internet for the apartment’s past, they added, “We searched and read all about the history. But that was 35, 40 years ago. For us it was never a problem. ”

Nilsen pleaded guilty by way of reduced liability to be convicted of manslaughter, but on November 4, 1983, he was convicted of six counts of murder and two attempted murder.

Among his victims were Stephen Holmes, Kenneth Ockenden, Martyn Duffey, William Sutherland and Malcolm Barlow.

Nilsen was sentenced to life in prison and spent the last days of his life as a “loner in prison”.

Dennis Nilsen was captured in 1983 after his murderous frenzy

The serial killer has died of natural causes at the age of 72 after being found slumped over the toilet at HMP Full Sutton near York.

An investigation revealed that Nilsen died of pulmonary embolism – a blocked artery in his lung – and hemorrhage in his abdominal cavity on May 12, 2018.

Hull’s coroners’ court heard he had deteriorated in his own feces, with healthcare workers refusing to review his condition throughout the day.

He had suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, which was not detected until paramedics examined him after 6 p.m., then was successfully operated on at York District Hospital and transferred to care intensive.

His condition worsened and he died in the early hours of May 12, 2018.

* Airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on ITV at 9 p.m.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here