Serial killer gave play 'his approval'

Published: 19 Jun 2013 11:00

A JOHNSTONE actor has told of the chilling moment that a serial killer contacted his producer to say: "I'm just a 68-year-old geezer."

Share this image

Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen - who killed 15 men from 1978 to 1983 - sent the creepy letter to Taggart creator Glenn Chandler after learning he was staging a play which featured the killer's crimes.

The production, named Killers, is based on letters written by three of the most notorious serial murderers in Britain, including Nilsen, Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and Glasgow-born Moors Murderer Ian Brady from behind bars.

Actor Arron Usher, 36, of Johnstone, who portrays Nilsen in the show, said his blood ran cold when he heard Nilsen had contacted Chandler.

Arron, who also took over the part of the comic hero in this year's King's Theatre pantomime Sleeping Beauty, said last week:

"When I first heard Nilsen had been in touch, it was quite unnerving.

"A shiver ran down my spine and I was quite shocked he'd have the arrogance to get in touch."

Fraserburgh-born Nilsen contacted Chandler after hearing about the production of the show, writing a creepy letter which said: "I'm just a 68-year-old geezer."

Award-winning playwright and novelist Mr Chandler said: "Nilsen contacted me - he knew all about the show.

"He wanted me to know he was 'now just a 68-year-old geezer' who accepted that people would always want to write about him - which was his way of tacitly giving his approval to Killers.

"It was not direct. It was passed through another party.

"He knew so much about the play. It was almost as if he was sitting there watching it. It was actually beginning to spook me a bit."

Having debuted to rave reviews in Brighton last month, Killers will appear at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh throughout this summer's Festival Fringe.

It tries to uncover why ordinary people feel the need to enter into correspondence with serial killers - coming with the tagline: 'Enter the basement of The Old Police Cells Museum and come face to face with your worst nightmares.'

Former soldier Nilsen killed, defiled and dismembered 15 young men between December 1978 and February 1983, practically under the noses of his neighbours.

When police finally arrested him in 1983, it quickly became apparent that, had they linked a series of reported incidents from lucky escapees over the previous five years, they might well have halted his ghoulish killing spree considerably sooner.

He is currently serving a whole life term at maximum security Full Sutton Prison in England.

Jump to first paragraph.

Get more stories from our Roundup section

17 Apr 2014 15:26

Breaking: Renfrewshire man scoops EuroMillions

A MYSTERY Renfrewshire man has struck it lucky by scooping £1 million from the National Lottery.


17 Apr 2014 09:30

Derek Mackay Writes for You

THIS week's column from MSP Derek Mackay


15 Apr 2014 09:01

Looms on show at museum

A NEW gallery has been created in Paisley Museum housing the looms associated with the manufacturing of the Paisley Shawls.


15 Apr 2014 09:00

Erskine fighter set to defend world title

ERSKINE Muay Thai fighter Chris Shaw is set to return to the ring later this month to defend his world title belt.


14 Apr 2014 09:00

Sick texts land company manager in court

A MAN hounded a woman he met online and bombarded her with hate-filled text messages.


14 Apr 2014 09:00

Fishing latest from John Milne

The proof of every pudding is in the eating. I have always found that it is better to take the views of many rather than the views of one individual.


11 Apr 2014 17:00

Local baton bearers revealed

THE names of the lucky baton bearers for one of Renfrewshire’s biggest sporting events have been revealed.


11 Apr 2014 16:18

Breaking: Woman in hospital after cigarette blaze

A WOMAN was rushed to hospital after a cigarette set fire to a couch at a flat in Paisley.


10 Apr 2014 15:00

Charity lorry collects goods

THE Blythswood Care Collection Lorry will be making its next visit on Thursday, April 17 to Morrison’s, Johnstone, from 9.10-9.30am.


9 Apr 2014 17:00

Recruits follow in the footsteps of Alan Sugar

MOVE over Alan Sugar – there’s some new apprentices in town.


9 Apr 2014 11:30

Child hit by bus in Paisley

A CHILD was taken to hospital after being hit by a bus in Paisley.


9 Apr 2014 10:30

Carlin inspired by Olympic hero Chris Hoy

AT just 16 track cyclist Jack Carlin has a while to go before his name is up in lights alongside Sir Chris Hoy — but he insists he is aiming for the very top.


8 Apr 2014 15:00

Excitement building for Rafferty festival

RENFREWSHIRE is gearing up to pay tribute to one of the town’s favourite icons when the Bring it all Home festival — inspired by the legacy of Gerry Rafferty — starts next week.


8 Apr 2014 11:00

Crackdown on Renfrewshire pollution

PARENTS who drive their kids to school are being urged to do their bit to reduce pollution and congestion outside Renfrewshire schools.


7 Apr 2014 17:00

Calls for action on area's crumbling roads

JOHNSTONE councillor Chris Gilmour has called on central government to stand up and take account of the amount of funding required to fix the nation’s roads.


7 Apr 2014 11:00

New council homes built

THE first new homes to be built by Renfrewshire Council in two decades have been officially opened.


7 Apr 2014 09:00

Runners sought for 10K

FLEET-FOOTED folk have been urged to register for the 2014 Paisley 10K and Fun Run.


4 Apr 2014 17:00

MSP signs up for Men United

DEREK Mackay MSP has become the latest big name signing for Men United.


2 Apr 2014 15:00

Local hero helps Ellie get a good night's sleep

A SELFLESS soldier has been dubbed a ‘local hero’ after vowing to complete a marathon to help a long-suffering toddler.


2 Apr 2014 10:00

Your man at the Scottish Parliament Hugh Henry MSP

This week Hugh Henry, MSP for Renfrewshire South, speaks about the work being done for those suffering cancer and calls for better access for the disabled at train stations.