Man, 66, tells how he escaped serial killer Dennis Nilsen who bought him dinner and invited him back to his flat when he missed last train home
- Nick Barrit, now 66, was 24 in 1979 when he met Nilsen at Waterloo train station
- He missed the train home to Christchurch, Dorset, and the pair went for dinner
- Mr Barrit said the release of ITV drama Des brought the memories flooding back
A man has told how he had a lucky escape after serial killer Dennis Nilsen befriended him when he missed the last train home.
The killer bought him dinner and invited him back to the flat where he murdered 12 men.
Nick Barrit, now 66, was 24 in March 1979 when he bumped into Nilsen on the platform at Waterloo train station.
Nick Barrit, now 66, bumped into Nilsen on the platform at Waterloo train station after missing the last train home to Christchurch, Dorset
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 was also in the same predicament.
Self-employed gardener Mr Barrit accepted Nilsen’s offer and the pair walked to the Strand Cafe in London’s West End.
After tucking into beef burgers, he claims Nilsen invited him back to spend the night on his sofa and became ‘aggressive’ when he rejected the offer.
Mr Barrit was 24 (pictured) in March 1979 when he went to the Strand Cafe in London’s West End with Nilsen
Mr Barrit only realised who Nilsen was decades later – in 2006 – when he watched a documentary about the notorious serial killer and necrophile.
He said the release of the ITV drama Des this week brought all the memories flooding back, and he realised how lucky he was to escape.
He added: ‘He told me he’d missed a train too – although he later admitted he hadn’t – and said: ‘I’ll buy you supper’.
‘I went along and we walked to the Strand Cafe where we both ordered beef burgers, chips, peas and carrots.
‘I remember him speaking in a soft Scottish accent. 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 ‘that’s no reason, I bought you dinner. I expect you to come back, it’s not going to cost you anything’.
‘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.’
Mr Barrit only realised who Nilsen (pictured) was decades later – in 2006 – when he watched a documentary about the notorious serial killer and necrophile
Mr Barrit had driven from his home in Dorset to Derby to watch an Everton football match, but it was called off when the floodlights failed twice in 15 minutes.
All the streetlights were affected too, so Nick couldn’t find his car anywhere.
He changed train at Liverpool Street station, walking to Waterloo for the next leg of the journey, but he missed the last train, and Nilsen prowled towards him a minute later.
He said: ‘I didn’t suspect a thing.
‘He was a smartly-dressed, well-spoken man – and there was me with long hair. I just thought he was being kind.
‘As I sat there, eating my meal, I thought: ‘You look very much like Elvis Costello’ – who was a big name in those days, but I thought I better not say that to him.’
He said the release of the ITV drama Des (pictured, David Tennant playing the role of Nilsen) this week brought all the memories flooding back, and he realised how lucky he was to escape
At 2.20am they parted ways and Nilsen asked him to go back to his flat, admitting he hadn’t missed the train and offering to pay for the taxi.
Nick said: ‘Now I dread to think what would have happened if I had gone back.
‘It wasn’t until I saw a four-part Channel 4 documentary in 2006 that I realised who he was.
‘I noticed that Elvis Costello lookalike, I’d sat and shared dinner with all those years ago. It gives me the creeps.’
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