Serial killer of gays barred from writing memoir
December 20 2003 1:00 AM ET
One of England's worst serial killers was barred Friday from continuing to work on his autobiography. In London, the High Court turned down an appeal by lawyers for Dennis Nilsen--who admitted to the murders of 15 men, most of them homeless and gay--to overturn a decision by Home secretary David Blunkett and the governor of Full Sutton Prison in northern England to remove a copy of the partially completed work in order to prevent it from being finished. Alison Foster, representing Nilsen, had argued that removing her client's work breached his human rights. Those who would be offended by Nilsen's book should simply not read it, she said. But Justice Maurice Kay said Blunkett was "entitled to have regard to the likely effect of publication on members of the public, including survivors and the families of victims of Mr. Nilsen's serial offenses," adding, "I am unimpressed by the suggestion that anyone can choose not to read whatever may be published."
Nilsen's crimes, the judge said, were "as grave and depraved as it is possible to imagine." The Scottish-born killer, 57, was sentenced to life in 1983 after admitting to the murders, which took place between 1978 and 1983. Most of his victims were gay men, whose bodies he dismembered and buried in the backyard or under the floorboards of his north London home. Nilsen, who is serving six life terms, began writing his autobiography in 1992, and in 1996 he handed the partially completed typescript to his lawyer. The 400-page document, which gives "considerable detail" of the killings, was later confiscated by prison authorities.