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