Serial killer gave play 'his approval'
Published: 19 Jun 2013 11:00
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.
Get more stories from our Roundup section
7 Dec 2013 12:15
JOHNSTONE Burgh’s league campaign is getting harder every weekend and last weekend’s defeat to league leaders Dunipace never helped their position.
7 Dec 2013 12:00
RENFREW will need to start picking up points in the league or they will be facing football in the District League next season.
7 Dec 2013 10:00
REAL police officers are playing the part of cops in a film drama made by young people in care.
6 Dec 2013 10:00
JOHNSTONE Burgh have snapped up Super League Premier star John McStay from Largs Thistle.
6 Dec 2013 09:00
A THUG who has repeatedly been found guilty of stabbing a decorated soldier through the heart has failed to overturn his conviction.
5 Dec 2013 17:00
GEORGE Walker was left to rue a second-half collapse on Saturday which cost his side any chance of picking up points against table toppers Dunipace.
5 Dec 2013 10:00
RENFREW co-boss Colin Clark insisted Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Maybole is a case of two points dropped for his side, rather than one gained.
4 Dec 2013 17:00
RENFREW faced Ayrshire opposition for the second week running and picked up a point at Ladywell Stadium.
4 Dec 2013 14:20
JOHNSTONE Burgh slipped to another defeat on Saturday as they lost to league leaders Dunipace at Keanie Park.
4 Dec 2013 10:00
ST Mirren cadet men continued their impressive unbeaten run with victory against a determined Tornadoes side to seal their place in the Scottish Cup semi finals.
4 Dec 2013 07:00
A UNIQUE art show has helped to raise tens of thousands of pounds for a cancer charity.
2 Dec 2013 07:00
THE very sharp frosts that we had last week really affected the fishing for a period and the number of anglers at the fisheries.
1 Dec 2013 10:00
MP Douglas Alexander is backing a initiative by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to raise awareness of war graves ahead of next year’s centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
30 Nov 2013 11:00
RENFREW still sit at second bottom of the First Division after last weekend’s defeat at Troon.
30 Nov 2013 11:00
JOHNSTONE Burgh have a tough tie this weekend as they will play host to Dunipace, who currently sit in second place in the league, a full 13 points in front of the Keanie Park side, who lie in 12th.
29 Nov 2013 13:00
AFTER Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Troon, Renfrew co-manager Colin Clark admitted his side face a battle to beat the drop.
29 Nov 2013 11:00
RENFREWSHIRE’S Provost Anne Hall has teamed up with the Piazza shopping centre in Paisley to raise money for a charitable cause close to her heart.
29 Nov 2013 10:00
EIGHT St Mirren players are growing a moustache for cash this month as they take part in Movember.
29 Nov 2013 10:00
JOHNSTONE Burgh assistant manager Eddie McKim insisted Saturday’s call-off with Dunipace couldn’t have come at a worse time for his side.
28 Nov 2013 15:00
THE number of young people claiming benefits in Renfrewshire has fallen by more than 10 per cent this year.