Dennis Nilsen Killed my Father – Introduction...

One evening in late 1982, after a terrible argument with my mother, my father (Archibald Graham Allen) stormed off into the night in search of heroin... no-one ever saw him alive again. It wasn’t until nearly a year later that we discovered the truth of what had become of him. The truth was, that same evening that he left, he was picked up by a man – Dennis Andrew Nilsen – offered a bed for the night, and then poisoned, strangled & murdered. His corpse was left for three days in a bath, before finally being dismembered and flushed down the toilet – his head boiled in a large saucepan. All that was left was his skull. This was exhibited during Nilsens trial at The Old Bailey in October 1983.

My father was the 14th victim of the infamous British serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who in total took the lives of 16 men between 1978 – 1983. Most of his victims were young homosexuals or vagrants. Of the 16 victims there are only two children, I am one of them.

During the course of my next few posts, I will detail my fathers life, his disapearance and his murder. I will explain the effect it has had, both upon my mother and upon my own life. Finally, I will examine the relationship between this event and my ongoing addiction to heroin.

Until then Readers, take care & go steady on the tea...


ReRe said...

wow. this reads like something from TV, but it's your life. you need to write a book my friend.


another person who too needs to write a book

Jennifer Chronicles ( said...

Hello Shane. I'm still here. Still reading. I patiently await this part of your memoir.

sydney said...

Nilsen's minimum term was set at 25 years by the trial judge, but the Home Secretary later imposed a whole life tariff, which meant he would never be released. After the Home Secretary was stripped of his powers to set minimum terms in November 2002, however, Nilsen could be freed on life licence as early as 2008 because of his original 25-year minimum sentence. His case could also be helped if a European Court of Human Rights case—currently being considered—[dated info] outlaws lifelong imprisonment as a violation of human rights.

(from wikipedia)

How do you feel about this?

Lou said...

Like many, I have a morbid fascination with serial killers. Is there a good biography of Nilsen? I read a book about our Jeffrey Dahmer, and even though it made my stomach turn, I couldn't stop looking, so to speak.
I'm looking forward to reading your story.

Smack Happy said...

Wow, Shane...that is a harsh story to have to tell. However, since you have such a huge talent for such things, you are probably the man for the job. I am sure will have us all hanging on your every word.

Re: Sydney's research (thanks, Syd, for sharing) - obviously he did not get released "as early as 2008", since it is already 2009 and he IS still incarcerated, isn't he??

Anonymous said...

Wow, such a powerfully awful experience.

In the first place, to have one's father go missing without a trace. I mean, regardless of finding out later it wasn't anything to do with your mother or you, I'm sure it didn't feel like it for that whole year when you didn't know where he was!

Then, to find out he was murdered. Gone. No more. I sure hope you didn't know the gory details of his murder when you were so young!

If only I could give that little 7 year old boy a big hug, I would!!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

ReRe, you're here! ;) Yeah, its my life... & I wouldn't change or undo anything. There's been mistakes and events but our past is the sum of our parts... my past is me. I sometimes wonder if it's a comedy or a tragedy...& then I laugh and understand.

Take care ReRE & thanks for the visit. Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Sydney, thanks for your comment. I have no ill feelings towards Nilsen, like many of us he has problems. His release is a difficult one. I am torn between my personal feelings towards incarceration & the love I have for my mother - his release would hit her VERY hard. I would like him to be released, but I don't know how that can happen without hurting many people??? We also need to consider if he is capable of repeating his crimes. His fate is left in the hands of politicians... now that is punishment (infact, thats just sadistic)!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Lou, there are a few books. I recommend "Killing for Company" - Brian Masters.

One other that is worth reading is "The Nilsen File" - Brian McConnell/Douglas Bence. It's a little tabloid-ish, but is an interesting & easy read.

For anyone who likes the trashy ultra tabloid junk, there is "The House of Horrors" - the name says it all.

You will find Killing for Company very easy on Amazon... for the rest you may have to look around a little.

Take care Lou.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Smack Happy... he's still in prison & having a GREAT time if you believe the newspapers.

"Nilsens Life behind Bars - Sex, Drugs & Alcohol!"

I don't know who hurt my mother more - Nilsen or the tabloid journalists.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Svasti, unfortunately we couldn't escape the details as it was national news for weeks. I had my brother & sister alongside, so we comforted each other.

Also the story broke before there were any details of victims names. It was only later that the remains were identified. So my mother, like the nation, was reading daily of the gruesome finds before she even knew that our life was wrapped up in it...

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

JenX, thanks for sticking around... that means a lot. Shane.

LilyGirl said...

I started following you...Hope thats cool..And I'm very sorry about your father...

Anonymous said...

its too heavy man....frankly speaking i cant bear it more

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

LilyGirl, of course thats cool... there's not many bloggers who don't want followeres! ;)

You take care & thanks for joining the ride. Shane.

@ Akskhanbl, thanks for the comment... it's just a life, nothing more than that. You're a doctor & you can't bear it?? God, I'm glad I'm not one of your patients! ;)

mtyler77 said...

Shane--I know you told me this story when we first came across each other. I can't imagine how horrible this must have been--and still be--to know your father met his end with such violence.

I just received the book from Amazon and plan to delve into it on my flight to San Francisco this weekend.


Jamie said...

I am so sorry to hear that this happened to your father (and to your family as well). No words I can offer will bring about much comfort, but I will say I hope nothing but the best for you and yours!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

M, San Francisco??? Oh, that's it... you've got that old Punk reunion to attend to! Go easy pogo-ing. You know it was Sid Vicious who started off the 'Pogo'. He said he done it to "piss off the Bromley contingency."

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Jamie, thank you mate. Just you being around means more than anything. You take care... I'll be around your blog soon. Shane

ReRe said...

of course i'm here! you rock. shane i think you are amazingly brave for putting everything out there. i grew up with an addict (crack). though i wouldn't wish it on anyone, i would not change my past, because like you said, it's what made us who we are. it's tragedy and comedy all at the same time. hopefully one day i'll be courageous enough to put it all out there.

stillthinking said...

This is horrifying. Nilson didn't just victimize your father, he murdered your family too.

My father is imprisoned for life for the accidental death of three firemen back in 1984. He was accused of conspiring with two other men of setting fire to a building. The building collapsed and trapped three firemen inside. The two men he stood accused with never went to prison. One had a mistrial and the other cut a deal. Both were deported.

My father has never stopped claiming his innocence. When those firemen died, my family died too. We never recovered. I struggled with depression and eating disorders. My mother turned into an abusive, chain smoking depressive. We lost everything.

My father will never be released from prison due to a "tough on crime" mentality here. There is always more than one victim when events like this occur.

I empathize with you.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

ReRe, I've had my run ins with crack and I really feel for you having had grown up around it. It's almost worse than heroin... it may even be. Also, it absolutely changes the user... it affects the behaviour and the personality. It's just so wonderful that you've grown from that into such a great person. I only know you from your blog and a few comments... but that's what it seems to me. Keep well & we'll talk more soon, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

StillThinking, it's a tough break you've had. You're right, a crime has a domino effect and there can be a generation of secondary victims.

has your father lodged any appeals? Is there anything happening to free him? When could he be liable for parole - or never?

maybe it will be easier to mail me than discus this here in the comments? I'm fine either way.

Look forward to hearing from you, Shane.

bigbadmarkus said...

Wow. That might be one of the heaviest things I have ever read. I appreciate the candid and frank way you wrote about it. Im looking forward to reading more.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

BigBadMarkus, glad you joined us & commented... it means a lot, and I don't say that just for fun.

Nice cap you've got... I've a collection of flat-caps myself. When I run out of things to write about I'll post some pictures of them! ;)

Best wishes, Shane.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting on my post. I found the diary excerpts on as well as through a google search. If you'd like to read more you can probably find them on in the diaries section, but that will likely require digging through the different editions. I should warn you, his handwriting is often difficult to decipher.
Your blog is fascinating. I'll definitely return to read more of your insights. Sorry about your father, that must have been really difficult while you were growing up, maybe now as well.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought of putting all of these stories into a book or memoir?

kokh_adkt said...

This so crazy, i was going to ask you about that episode of your life, and here you read my mind an posted about it..


Cinnamon Girl said...

You really do have a flair for writing, I am just saddened for you that this is your personal history.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Z, thank you for your reply and for coming across. I will have a look around the sites you mentioned. As for a book...yes, I've thought of it, but haben't got around to doing it yet. I have two finished books (not autobiographical) which I will hopefully get published. I just don't want my first book to be a diary, or a journal... I feel I've got much more dying to do before I detail that.

Keep reading the blog... I'll do the same with yours & hopefully we'll speak more soon.

You take care, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

@ Kokh-adkt & Starrlight,

Thanks for the comment and the compliment... its very kind.

If you think this is bizarre or crazy, wait until I tell of finding my best friend dead, my mother turning to crack cocaine, and my step-mother being sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder... then it gets really f*cked up! ;) (& that's not a joke).

People just won't believe it... I almost don't myself.

Take care both of you, Shane.

Emilly Orr said...


You're not wrong, when you said your blog might be of interest. Where I find myself whelmed is you seem the very air of the confessional--this is my life, my misdeeds and deeds, right or wrong--whereas my blog is, more or less (and likely more than less) a day-to-day retelling of the extremely fictional.

But you've garnered another reader, at least. And at the very least I can provide another voice in the electronic wilderness urging life over darkness.

Anonymous said...

this makes me so uncomfortable.
words cannot express how i feel about that whole experience.
very powerful. looking forward to reading more.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Emilly, Thank you for visiting & taking the time to comment. Yeah, it's mostly my misdeeds... but, a misdeed isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Its interesting you mention the "confessional" because I've never really been into that... & I wasn't thinking of this journal in that way. I think because it's my life and I've lived it so openly I don't feel I'm confessing anything... but you're right.

Anyway, stay around & you'll also see me on your blog. You take care, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Grey, it's great to have you back.. You're always welcome here.

It's some history, hey? sometimes I just think & laugh and shake my head & wonder if it's all real... It is. I always try to find a little humour in the things... it's not healthy to concentrate only on the doom.

Hope you're well over here... Shane.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading my blog. I thought I would do you the same courtesy. You have a lot of self-insight. You are a good writer as well. I appreciate the invitation into your world.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thank you Robert... that's very kind. I hope you enjoy your stay. We'll speak more over posts... Take care, Shane

French Fancy... said...

Is Nilsson the one that lived in Muswell Hill? I used to live near there and remember hearing local talk about estate agents being unable to ever sell the house. Is it any wonder?

Great writing.

French Fancy... said...

yes, I should really have bothered to scroll back and check the spelling of Nilsen's name.

word veri - witch!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

French Fancy, thank you for following, commenting & the compliment... it makes everything worthwhile.

Yes, he's the same Nilsen that destroyed property prices in North London. At the time I think estate agents despised him more than the victims families!

The spelling, jesus... I nearly made a complete arse out of myself with that. For some reason I'd always been spelling Nilsens name as (Nielsen)... that wouldn't have gone down as being very credible with the skeptics.

Once again, thanks for your interaction & we'll speak more soon. Shane.

Darren said...

Astounding! Sir, starting writing your book. I, for one, will purchase it.

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf said...

Shit man! It was a fucked up world then, and it's a fucked up world now, the secret is not to let it fuck you up, cos if it does, then yer fucked!! Cheers for the kind words about the blog HH, I dunno what to say about your memoires, cos they're yours, hats off to yer for sharing them with us. Keep on blogging in the free world and stay free brutha!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Nuzz Prowlin' Wolf,

I'm not too fucked up... I hope my blog show that, though if I am at least there's been some great music to keep me company - that makes it all a bit better!

Your sites fantastic I'll steer as many people your way as I can.

Thanks for the follow & words, that means more than anything... All the best, Shane.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Thanks Darren, I've left a little note on your blog. Shane

Amber said...

I too, had a rough childhood, nothing like yours, but I have had my struggles. I've been in treatment twice for eating disorder among other things. (You'll have to read my second ever written blog on my page)

My heart cries for the little boy who lost his father, and for the man who obviously still feels pain. I admire you so much for being so open about your many ways I believe that is all life is about. Being open, sharing who you are, and teaching others in the process. Hopefully, everyone reading your blog will gain a little more compassion about addiction and pain. Thanks for sharing your life. I look forward to reading more of your blogs!

Amber said...

OOppss...somehow this is actually logged in to my friends account. No sure how....This is actually Rachel...I just joined your blog!

Rachel said...

Ok let's try this again...the above comments are friend was on my computer last night and must have logged in to her account :)

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Rachel, thank you so much for following & the comment. The confusion with the account happens to me all the time... so no worries.

You know, a bad childhood is relative... it's not always huge traumas that do the most damage. So even if the events in your childhood weren't as 'big' as mine... your pain/hurt is the same. I know people absolutely lost due to something that seems insignificant... but which really affected them.

Everyone has been very accepting of my addiction... it's touched me. I'm not ashamed of it, it is a part of me and a part of my life & history. Despite all the dramas, and the hurt and pain, I have enjoyed my life... (though it's not always been enjoyable). I hope that makes some kind of sense! ;)

Anyway, take care & thanks again for all you say, Shane.

Longy said...

I must confess the first thing I looked for on your blog was the paypal "donate now" button. I have very poor experiences of Heroin Users (Being burgled,being lied to,not having lend money paid back,deception,best friends dying ect) so when I came across your blog by pure accident,I was sceptical. I apoligise for that Shane.

Reading your story and your frank honesty humbles and amazes me. To say you are talented would be an understatement. Its a fancinating read and I almost feel guilty for "enjoying" it.

From what I've read so far its impossible to feel empathy because its impossible to put myself in your shoes. But I can imagine how hard your life must of been and still is and I feel for you.

I'm glad you don't come across full of self-pity like so many adicts I've encountered and I'm hoping through the good will of people on here and your own strength you will overcome your addiction.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Longy, thank you very much for your comment. You've no need to apologize... I've been around heroin long enough to completely understand what you refer to. I do try to give a different view of the addict, but there are many aspects of the stereotype which are true... dishonesty is one of them.

There will never be a 'donate' button here. Peoples time and interaction is a far better reward.

As for enjoying it... enjoy all you like - there's no guilt to be had there.

The addicts self-pity is often related to your first point - money. If you can get people feeling sorry for you, they will be more likely to part with their money.

I hope you're well, take care & best wishes, Shane.

Longy said...

Thanks for replying Shane. I put "inverted commas" in the "enjoy" maybe a better thing to say was just very interested. Your dead right on the money part and yes I've been a mug on that one and been too trusting in the past. That is my stuff though not yours. We are all individuals and if theres one thing I've learnt tonight,its that I still stereotype (even unconcously)

I've stuck you on my bloglist if that okay. I'm glad you came over and found some tunes. Take all you want mate.

I'll be over again soon. Take care Shane.

Andy said...

This blog is pretty incredible. Followed.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

AK, glad you came along... yeah, it's not the run of the mill, hey? ;)

Thanks for following... hopefully we'll talk more soon, Shnae.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Shane... Shnae's a girls name!

sKILLz said...

This is my first time reading your blog and this is the first post I have read from you.

All I can really say is that I'm sorry this happened to your father.
I hope that muthafucka had nothing but a life of pain and misery for what he did to your father and many others as you said.
This nigga is truly sick and I think he needs to suffer for however long he has on this earth.
Death is a easy way out in my opinion....

Did you go to the trial, or were you too young?
Do you remember anything from that time?

I am a heroin addict as well. Right now I am on a methadone program and I dip and dab when I feel like it, or when I dont want to feel...

I would like to email you if you dont mind and talk more if thats ok with you that is.
Stay Up!

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

I was too young to go to the trial - I was only 8. I remember my mothers drinking & suicide attempts. We had to grow up quickly.

You can mail me anytime you like.

If I ever get to your neck of the woods I'll call you up... but you know junk taps you in your city, so it's hard to travel. There are hree cities I can score immediately in: London, Lyon & Naples, so my vacations are between them at the moment.

Gledwood said...

You can tell that Nilsen bastard's dodgy: tinted glasses ~ always a bad sign.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

You're right... and the thatch doesn't make him look any more normal! ;)

Tanja Guven said...

Dear Shane,

Have you ever considered writing a book about all this? Your prose is lovely and the content would certainly sell, too. It would be worth a lot of money for you. You could rid yourself of many headaches that way, no?

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Hiya Tanja,

I'm halfway through writing a book, though it is fiction(ish). Concerning Memoires, yes I've considered arranging the posts into book format, although I'd need to add a lot and rewrite many of the earlier posts. The entries concerning the murder of my father are too brief and I have a lot more to say, but I shortened them for the blog so as people wouldn't have to read too much.I've been approached by a couple of agents, but once they realise this REALLY is my life they get cold feet and run away. Anyhow, I think something will happen soonas the blog has taken enormous amounts of attntion since I began writing it early last year.

I hope 2010 has got off to a good start for you...

All my Thoughts & Wishes, Shane.x

Anonymous said...

Hi Shane,

My name is Alex and I'm working for a film distribution company. We're just releasing a film which is based on Dennis Nilson, and I was wondering if there was any chance I could speak to you. My phone number is 07887 690 171. I would really appreciate it if you could give me a ring, or let me know how I can get in touch with you.

Thanks a lot, look forward to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shane,

My name is Alex and I'm working for a film distribution company. We're just releasing a film which is based on Dennis Nilson, and I was wondering if there was any chance I could speak to you. My phone number is 07887 690 171. I would really appreciate it if you could give me a ring, or let me know how I can get in touch with you.

Thanks a lot, look forward to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am so sorry. What a sick person who took your father from you. I believe there is a special place in the afterlife for people like him. I hope you have found some sort of peace.


Anonymous said...

Try Killing For Company by Brian Masters. It's a bloody good read.
Or write him a letter and ask him to recommend a biography himself. I bet he'll rant about his autobiography being banned. ;D

Anonymous said...

If it makes your mother feel any better, I assure you that he is NOT having a great time in Full Sutton Prison. I'm in regular contact with him so I know this from a good source (himself). Whoever's written the article is an idiot.

Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Anon give it a rest you bullshitting idiot.Its obvious from your childish nonsense that you've no contact with Nilsen and that he'd not give you the time of day. You're way out ya depth trying to sell your bullshit here. X

Nikhil said...

Hi Shane,

I am sorry sorry sorry on behalf of this ruthless society.

I am sorry on behalf of the law.

I am sorry on behalf of mute spectators that includes me.

You need to appeal for a stronger sentence.

You need to fight for justice, since this is not it.

I am deeply scared and shocked by the use of graphic details in Wikipedia that explains murder explicitly and does not allow the murderer book to be published perhaps because it already published in news and Wikipedia more artistically.

This is the justice of the land.

And in texas another victim called Carlos was found to be innocent in 2009.

So many victims all dead and gone to heaven never to return to this ugly world of injustice and absolute no equality.

An innocent guy in texas is executed on the story of murdering one person, which means two laws have been destroyed, one that an innocent is murdered again, and the other that victim did not see justice because the wrong person was executed.

Here again a murderer of 12 innocent victims is alive and eating well.

Which means that victims will continue increasing since their murderers are waiting because they know that they will never be executed.

This I am sorry will only lead to more injustice and we seemed to have got the hang of it again.

I can't believe that people are using words like wow and comparing human tragedy to a tv serial.

Maybe we have murdered too many animals that human life does not count too.

But what if the humans lost were talented people who could have changed the world for the better or best?

What about the unheard cries of the victims about not having completed their responsibilities, their dreams?

Intact the murderer didn't even allow the victims to grow into adults.

He simply kept breaking laws and he lives to see this day.

Is this the best our society can do?

Are there more murders in store?

I am sorry Shane you are the unfortunate victim who list your beloved dad and your dad never got justice.

Perhaps now innocent people will be killed and their murderers roam free.

I am ashamed that we live in such heartless and cowardly world who have no courage to fight injustice.

Sorry Shane and are we see more Shanes and Graham Allens?

Hope you find peace Shane.


Memoirs of a Heroinhead said...

Nikhil.. I don't understand. Execution is also murder... And worse, it attracts crowds baying for blood and revenge. That is morality straight from the Old Testament andI don't want anything to do with that. You come here speaking strongly against murder and your solution for murder is murder.

vibrantlinda said...

I have been reading about heroin addiction and suddenly I came across your blog. I was gutted to read that this horrific childhood and what followed ( with your mothers etc too )has happened and it has helped me realise that there are certain circumstances that can lead to drug addiction and why.please accept my sincere sympathy at the untimely death of your father and my best wishes for now and your future.❤

vibrantlinda said...

Sorry hun,I forgot to address you by your name, Shane.πŸ’—

vibrantlinda said...

Sorry hun,I forgot to address you by your name, Shane.πŸ’—

Unknown said...

Nice one. best of luck and wish you more success in your works
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