All you need to know about Dennis Nilsen’s Muswell Hill and Melrose Avenue properties today

Memories of a Murderer: The Dennis Nilsen Tapes is the new true-crime documentary on Netflix.

Told mainly from the perspective of the convicted serial killer himself, Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes features never-before-published cassette tapes where he goes into detail about his upbringing, killings, and how he was able to get away with his crimes for five years.

In 1983, Nilsen confessed to killing 15 people at two North London addresses—195 Melrose Avenue in Cricklewood and 23 Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill.

In February 1983, he was arrested and later convicted of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder but there are believed to have been at least 12 victims, if not more.

He was sentenced to a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years. This was later upgraded to a whole life tariff, meaning he would never be released from prison.

Newsweek has everything you need to know about Dennis Nilsen’s home and the properties today.

195 Melrose Avenue

195 Melrose Avenue in Cricklewood, Northwest London was where Nilsen carried out his first murder.

Nilsen killed 14-year-old Stephen Holmes on December 30, 1978, after meeting him at the Cricklewood Arms pub.

As heard in the Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes, and subsequent written confessions, he strangled and drowned Holmes, later storing his body beneath the floorboards.

He later burned Holmes’s body in a bonfire in his garden. He would go on to kill 23-year-old Kevin Ockenden, 16-year-old Martyn Duffey, William David Sutherland, 26 alongside four unidentified victims, also burning their bodies in a communal bonfire.

Nilsen’s final victim was 23-year-old Malcolm Barlow, who had returned to visit Nilsen after Nilsen called him an ambulance the previous evening.

Neighbours close by assumed Nilsen was burning rubbish and did not report anything suspicious to the police. In mid-1981, Nilsen’s landlord decided to renovate 195 Melrose Avenue, and subsequently, Nilsen was asked to leave the property.

He moved across to North London, and into an attic flat at 23D Cranley Gardens, where his killing spree continued.

At his trial, prosecutors shared burned bone fragments of 12 victims that had been uncovered in the gardens of 195 Melrose Avenue. At least four victims killed at Melrose Avenue remain unidentified.

Today, 195 Melrose Avenue is still standing. The property sold for nearly half a million pounds in 2016.

In an interview with The Sun in 2018, its buyers named only as Bruno and Mathilde shared they had given the home a huge makeover and turned it into their dream home.

Bruno said: “We fell in love with it because we could see the opportunity to make a great home.

“Did you get a chill when you walked in? Of course not.

“You wouldn’t have any idea what happened if you didn’t already know. It’s not something I wake up in the morning thinking about.”

195 Melrose Avenue in Cricklewood, London, one of the homes of British serial killer Dennis Nilsen, September 1985.
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

23 Cranley Gardens

John Howlett, 23, was the first victim of Dennis Nilsen at his new property in Muswell Hill, North London.

Carl Stottor, 21, visited 23 Cranley Gardens in May 1982 after meeting Nilsen a the Black Cap pub in Camden.

Nilsen attempted to strangle and drown Stottor but he survived the ordeal, later testifying at Nilsen’s trial.

The remains of Archibald Graham Allen, 27 from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire were found at Nilsen’s 23 Cranley Garden’s home. His final victim was 20-year-old Stephen Sinclair, who was killed on January 26, 1983.

Less than two weeks later, Nilsen would be arrested on February 9, 1983.

He, alongside other tenants, had written a letter of complaint to his estate agents about the blocked drains at Cranley Gardens, and that would be his downfall.

A Dyno-Rod employee (a London-based plumbing company), Michael Cattran, responded to the complaints on February 8, 1983, where he uncovered flesh-like substances in the drains and small bones. He reported the findings to his supervisor, Gary Wheeler and both men returned to the property the following morning at 7.30 a.m.

When they arrived at the property in Cranley Gardens, the drains had been cleared apart from some scraps of flesh and four bones from a pipe which was connected to the top flat of the house—Nilsen’s apartment.

The police were called and Detective Chief Inspector Peter Jay and two colleagues decided to wait for Nilsen to return home from work that evening to inspect his apartment and drains.

Dennis Nilsen home Muswell Hill
Dennis Nilsen’s home at 23 Cranley Gardens in Muswell Hill, North London.

As heard in Netflix’s Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes, Detective Jay recalls the strong smell of bodies decomposing. He immediately asked Nilsen where “the rest of the body” was.

Nilsen reportedly responded calmly, pointing towards a wardrobe that contained two black plastic bags which were later found to be full of human remains.

He was then arrested and cautioned on suspicion of murder before being taken to Hornsey police station. On route, he told police they were “15 or 16” bodies in total.

Today, 23 Cranley Gardens still exists, 38 years on from when the harrowing discovery of human remains and flesh were uncovered.

The home went up for sale in 2015, with the estate agents asking buyers to “research the history of this property or enquire with the marketing agent prior to viewings”, reported Business Insider.

The property was being offered at £300,000 ($413,000) under market value for the location.

The flat was sold at an auction for just £250,000 ($345,000) reported Business Insider in August 2013, with the new owner renovating the property in the hopes of making a profit.

At the moment, it is unknown if anybody inhabits 23 Cranley Gardens.

Newsweek has contacted the original estate agents for comment.

Memories of a Murderer: The Nilsen Tapes is streaming on Netflix now.

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