Tonight David Tennant brings to life the notorious serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the ITV drama Des.
The sadistic murderer is believed to have murdered as many as 15 boys and young men in London.
But during his trial at the Old Bailey, Nilsen admitted killing 15 men, but difficulty identifying victims meant he was convicted of six murders and two attempted murders.
Almost all of them were homosexual and homeless, and he would play the part of a kind stranger offering them food and lodgings.
Nilsen went undetected for five years, between 1978 and 1983, before he was arrested in Feburary, 1983.
Now the show creators are determined to serve justice to his victims.
One of the victims who features in the drama series is Carl Stottor – who escaped the clutches of Nilsen alive.
Who is Carl Stottor?
Carl Stottor was a drag artist who very nearly became one of Nilsen’s victims – but he was spared.
In Des he is seen being verbally attacked and spat on by the public after leaving court and testifying against Nilsen.
Writer Luke Neal explained: “A lot of mistruths about the victims and a lot of mistreatment of them and their families [existed] at the time because of the prejudices that existed in ’83, and those prejudices meant this narrative had been skewed somewhat for the last 35 years.”
Nilsen had tried to suffocate and drown Carl, who comes from Brighton.
At the time he was 21 years old, and Nilsen had invited him back to his flat to have a drink.
Dennis Nilsen's sick mind laid bare as serial killer's crimes revisited in ITV drama Des
While Carl was sleeping, Nilsen tried to strangle him with a zip that had detached from a sleeping bag.
Carl told The Sun in 2010: “When he attacked me I was jolted awake to find the zip tightly wrapped around my neck.
“I presumed I’d become tangled in my sleep but Nilsen was behind me, kneeing me in the back and telling me to keep still”.
Carl said the “pain was incredible”. He continued: “No air was going into my lungs and all I could feel was the teeth of the zip digging into my neck as he pulled it tighter.
“I briefly felt blood from the wound trickling over my skin and then I passed out.”
David Tennant transforms into Britain's most prolific serial killer for new ITV drama
Nilsen had subsequently tried to drown Carl in the bath, but it seemed he had a change of heart.
Nilsen gave Carl, who was unconscious, mouth-to-mouth.
The murderer then took Carl back to his bedroom and wrapped him in front of a heater with blankets.
When Carl regained consciousness Nilsen let him go and he went straight to hospital.
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