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'I escaped Dennis Nilsen': Man, 66, says serial killer bought him dinner after missing train

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
Nick Barrit, left, says he had a lucky escape after an encounter with serial killer Dennis Nilsen, right. (SWNS/PA)
Nick Barrit, left, says he had a lucky escape after an encounter with serial killer Dennis Nilsen, right. (SWNS/PA)

A man says he escaped from serial killer Dennis Nilsen by refusing to go to his home after he bought him dinner.

Nick Barrit, 66, was 24 years old when he was approached by Nilsen on the platform of Waterloo train station in London in March 1979.

Scottish serial killer and necrophile Nilsen murdered at least 12 young men and boys in London between 1978 and 1983. He was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2018.

Read more: Des director believes Dennis Nilsen lied to 'beat' Yorkshire Ripper

Barrit said he recalled his encounter with Nilsen after ITV drama Des was broadcast this month starring David Tennant as the serial killer.

Barrit, a self-employed gardener, had only 36p in his pocket when he missed his train home to Dorset and got chatting with Nilsen, who claimed he was in the same predicament.

Nilsen offered to buy him dinner and the pair walked to the Strand Cafe in London’s West End.

BLACK AND WHITE ONLY File photo dated 04/11/83 of mass murderer Dennis Nilsen (right), with a prison warden at his side, after he was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years imprisonment after being convicted of six murders and two attempted murders at the Old Bailey. Serial killer Dennis Nilsen has died in prison, the Ministry of Justice has said.
Dennis Nilsen, right, after he was sentenced to life in prison in November 1983. (PA)

After eating burgers and chips, Barrit says Nilsen invited him back to his home in Muswell Hill to spend the night on his sofa.

When he declined, Barrit said Nilsen became “aggressive”.

He said he only realised who Nilsen was when he watched a documentary about him decades later in 2006.

"I was in a bit of a pickle and he sort of came out of nowhere,” said Barrit.

"He told me he'd missed a train too – although he later admitted he hadn't – and said: 'I'll buy you supper.'

"I had 36p in my pocket and very little other options so I decided to go with him.

Read more: David Tennant 'relieved' serial killer Dennis Nilsen isn't alive to see TV drama

"He kept staring at me and didn't say much. He seemed a bit agitated. He kept getting a cigarette out to light and then putting it back – hesitating.

"After dinner he invited me back to his flat in Muswell Hill to stay on his sofa.

David Tennant as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV drama 'Des'. (Credit: ITV)
David Tennant as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in TV drama Des. (ITV)
A London policeman stands guard near a canopy erected on the garden of the North London home of Dennis Nilsen, on Feb. 13, 1983, as policemen inside dig the soil in search of the remains of human bodies believed to have been buried there. Police say there could be the remains of up to 13 murder victims buried in the area. The house is in Melrose Avenue, Willesden Green. (AP Photo/John Redman)
Police found the remains of Dennis Nilsen's victims at his home in north London in 1983. (AP Photo)

"He was insistent, saying he'd pay for a taxi back to the flat and then would pay for me to get a cab to the station in the morning – but I was worried I wouldn't make my early train on time.

"As soon as I went to go he got quite stroppy about it – bordering aggressive.

"He told me he had all the booze – whisky and the like – that I could want. But I thanked him, shook his hand and started walking back to Waterloo.

"Now I dread to think what might have happened if I'd gone with him."

***EMBARGOED 14.00 BST/ 09.00 EST SEPTEMBER 20 ***    Nick Barrit. See SWNS story SWFTnielsen. A footie fan escaped the clutches of serial killer Dennis Nilsen who bought him dinner and invited him to the home where he killed 12 men. Nick Barrit, now 66, was 24 in March 1979 when he bumped into Nilsen on the platform at Waterloo train station. With 36p in his pocket, Nick had missed the last train home to Christchurch, Dorset, by seconds. Nilsen approached him and offered to take him for dinner - claiming he too was in the same predicament.
Nick Barrit says serial killer Dennis Nilsen invited him back to his home in 1979. (SWNS)

Barrit had driven from his home in Christchurch, Dorset, to Derby that day to watch a match involving Everton, but the game was called off after a floodlights failure.

He couldn’t find his car in the darkness and took a train to Liverpool Street in London before walking to Waterloo for the next leg of the journey.

"I keep getting flashbacks,” said Barrit.

"It makes me feel terrible now, but obviously at the time I never suspected a thing. It gives me the creeps."