Des on ITV: Where did Dennis Nilsen live and are the houses still there?

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Des is due to air on ITV on September 14 and viewers will get insight into the life of serial killer Dennis Nilsen. Nilsen was known to have targeted homeless victims in London, and he would invite them back to his home before killing them. Fans are keen to know where Nilsen lived and has everything you need to know.

Where did Dennis Nilsen live and are the houses still there?

The series is set in London in the 1980s, during a period of economic crisis, which saw a rise in homelessness in the city.

Nilsen, a former civil servant originally from Scotland, lived in two different homes during the time of the murders, which spanned from 1978 until 1983.

Nilsen had decided to join the Metropolitan Police in the early 70s and moved to London to begin his training. He was posted a Wilsden Green.

He later worked at a Jobcentre in Kentish Town – a place of work he visited until his arrest in 1983.

The murders were carried out firstly at 195 Melrose Avenue, then at 23 Cranley Gardens – in the Muswell Hill area of London. This is how Nilsen came to get his nickname – The Muswell Hill Murderer.

In 1981 Nilsen’s landlord at Melrose Avenue asked him to leave the home so he could renovate it. Nilsen was resistant at first but accepted a £1,000 offer from his landlord.

After leaving his home he moved into a flat at 23D Cranley Gardens, having burned the bodies of the last five victims at Melrose Avenue on a bonfire.

At Cranley Gardens Nilsen had no access to an outside area, and he was not able to store bodies under the floorboards in the attic flat.

Instead the bodies were either stored in cupboards, or body parts were flushed down the toilet. In February 1983, Nilsen himself wrote a letter to estate agents complaining the drains were blocked.

Once the drains had been cleared, human remains were found and this led to Nilsen’s arrest.

Both addresses are still there to this day and they look very much the same as they did in the 1980s.

The real houses themselves were not used in the series – instead exact replica sets were made to give the illusion of Nilsen’s home.

A number of the actors in the series have lived within a short distance of the homes, and they said they would often drive past and wonder which house Nilsen lived in.

The cast said they had felt terrified when filming on the set of the Cranley Gardens home – where everything down to the print on the wallpaper was made exactly the same.

Executive producer Kim Varvell described the set as eerie, and it felt like the cast had been thrown back to the 80s.

Des on ITV: Where is Dennis Nilsen now? [EXPLAINER]
Des ITV: Who was Dennis Nilsen? [INSIGHT]
Des on ITV: Who were Dennis Nilsen’s victims? [EXPLAINER]

In 2018 The Sun ran an interview with first-time buyers who had just purchased Nilsen’s home in Melrose Avenue.

They revealed they grew fruit and vegetables in the garden where Nilsen burned the bodies of his victims.

The couple said their estate agent had asked them to Google the property before they made a decision, but they said as the incidents happened all those years ago, it did not phase them.

The interior of the home has undergone a complete transformation and now boasts a stunning garden.

In 2015 Business Insider ran an article explaining Nilsen’s Cranley Gardens home was up for sale, for £300,000 ($460,000).

Estate agents had left a warning on the advert for the home saying: “Buyers are kindly asked to research the history of this property or enquire with the marketing agent prior to viewings.”

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The flat was receiving minimum interest, probably in part due to its history, but no update has been given on whether the flat was sold and whom it was sold to.

There is still interest in the two addresses to this day, and one person said on Twitter: “Watching Britain’s Worst Serial Killers. Dennis Nilsen killed men in a Cranley Gardens flat opposite my first garden centre job. Creepy fact.”

Another said: “Omg just walked past Dennis Nilsen’s house, 23 Cranley gardens. This is so spooky…”

Some interior photos of Nilsen’s homes have been shared online and they show a very messy kitchen area and a disorganised living space.

Des airs on ITV on September 14

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