Angry family of Edinburgh victim slam 'hurtful' ITV serial killer drama starring David Tennant

Dennis Nielsen killed "15 or 16" people.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 1:50 pm
Angry family of Edinburgh victim slam 'hurtful' ITV serial killer drama starring David Tennant

Grieving relatives of a young Edinburgh dad who was murdered by serial killer Dennis Nilsen are furious that a drama is being made about his horrific crimes.

David Tennant is due to play Angus-born Nilsen, who later grew-up in Aberdeenshire, in a series to be screened later this year.

The show will revisit Nilsen’s five-year killing spree in a three-part thriller.

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David Tennant will play Dennis Nilsen.

A friend of Seaton Sutherland, whose brother Billy was murdered by Nilsen, has hit out at ITV for dragging up the past.

Mr Sutherland previously battled to stop Nilsen’s memoirs being published after he wrote them behind bars in 2013.

A family friend said: “Seaton and other relatives will never come to terms with what happened to Billy. Yes, it was a long time ago but the pain never diminishes.

“Nilsen was a monster and making a drama about his is hurtful to the families of all his victims.

"Enough is enough. These poor families have suffered and it is time to let them try and move on with their lives. They do not need to be reminded what happened to their loved ones.”

Unsuspecting Billy, 26, a divorcee with a girlfriend and three-year-old son, left his home in Muirhouse, for London in August 1980 to find a job but mysteriously vanished.

He had worked as a chef in London previously and hoped to find something similar when he visited the job centre where Nilsen - a former Army cook and Met police officer - worked. Hearing his Scottish accent, the killer suggested they to go for a drink.

Hours after the met, tragic Billy became Nilsen’s fourth victim but it was three years before his family discovered he was dead.

The Sutherlands reported his disappearance in 1980 to police in London and he remained a ‘missing person’ until Nilsen’s killing spree was uncovered in 1983.

Officers who dug up Nilsen’s garden, where they found hundreds of human teeth and body parts, discovered a piece of Billy’s skin with a tattoo on it and his false teeth.

Nilsen became one of Britain’s most infamous serial killers, murdering at least a dozen boys and young men in his North London home.

He would strangle his victims or drown them in the bath before clothing their bodies and keeping them in his home for weeks.

Nilsen would then dismember his victims and either dispose of the remains on a bonfire or bury them under his floorboards - flushing their flesh and smaller bones down the toilet.

Police finally swooped days after a plumber was called to one of the homes.

He returned the next day with his supervisor and police were alerted - bringing an end to Nilsen’s reign of terror.

Police found more than 1,000 teeth and bone fragments when they dug up the garden and a field behind his house in Cranley Gardens in February 1983.

It was searched after Nilsen’s three murders at another flat in Muswell Hill came to light.

He later confessed to cops he killed “15 or 16” victims, including around a dozen in Cricklewood, putting him second only to Harold Shipman as the UK’s most prolific murderer.

Around half of the victims were never identified and at the Old Bailey in October 1983 Nilsen was found guilty of six murders and two attempted murders and jailed for the rest of his natural life.

Nilsen died behind bars last May.