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Gardener, 66, escaped serial killer Dennis Nilsen after murderer invited him back to his flat when he missed train home

A SPOOKED man has revealed his lucky escape after monster Dennis Nilsen invited him to his house of horrors after missing the last train.

Nick Barrit was just 24 when he bumped into one of the UK’s most prolific serial killers in March 1979 in Waterloo station.

The former gardener, now 66, had just missed his last train home to Christchurch, Dorset, when Nilsen approached him.

With his 36p in his pocket, trusting Nick took the mass-murderer up on his offer of dinner at a nearby cafe.

But Nick says Nilsen soon turned “aggressive” after he turned down the fiend’s offer of a sofa for the night at the home in Muswell Hill where the killer buried some of his victims.

It was only decades later when Nick watched a show about Nilsen’s five-year bloody rampage that he realised how lucky he was to escape.

Nick said: “I was in a bit of a pickle and he sort of came out of nowhere.

“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.

“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’.

“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.”

Nilsen became known as one of Britain’s most infamous serial killers when he murdered at least a dozen boys and young men in his two North London houses of horror.

The ex-soldier put his sick fantasies into action between 1978 and 1983 when he went on a murderous rampage.

Nilsen targeted homeless or gay men and lured them back to his two homes with the promise of alcohol or a place to stay.

Once inside, the monster would strangle his victims or drown them in the bath before carrying out a chilling ritual of carefully clothing their bodies and keeping them in his home for weeks.

The fiend would sometimes lie next to the bodies in bed for hours on end – leading to the haunting nickname the Kindly Killer because he believed his ritualistic killing was humane.

Nilsen would then dismember his victims and often performed sex acts over their corpses.

His grisly killing spree has just been explored in ITV’s three-part series Des, starring David Tennant as the fiend.

Nick says the release of the show has brought all the memories flooding back.

He recalled how he had driven from Dorset to Derby to watch the Rams play Everton but the game was called off when the floodlights failed.

As the streetlights were also plunged into darkness over the fault, stranded Nick couldn’t find his car so made his way to the station where he missed the train.

It was then he spent the evening eating burgers with Nilsen after the killer told him he was in the same predicament.

Nick 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.”

After butchering young men, Nilsen would either dispose of their bodies on a bonfire or buried them under his floorboards – flushing their flesh and smaller bones down the toilet.

This eventually led to his arrest after a plumber was called to one of the homes due to complaints from the killer and his neighbours.

They noticed rats feasting on human flesh inside a pipe – leading Nilsen to remark: “It looks to me like someone has been flushing down their Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

But with his suspicions aroused, the plumber returned the next day with his supervisor and police were alerted – bringing an end to Nilsen’s reign of terror.

Police found more than 1,000 teeth and bone fragments when they dug up the garden and a field behind his house in Cranley Gardens in February 1983.

It was searched after Nilsen’s three murders at another flat in Muswell Hill came to light.

He later confessed to cops he killed “15 or 16” victims, including around a dozen in Cricklewood, putting him second only to Harold Shipman as the UK’s most prolific murderer.

Around half of the victims were never identified.

Recalling the evening, Nick said: “Now I dread to think what would have happened if I had gone back.

“I keep getting flashbacks. “It makes me feel terrible now, but obviously at the time I never suspected a thing.

“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.”

Nilsen went on trial at the Old Bailey in October 1983 and was found guilty of six murders and two attempted murders.

His minimum 25-year jail term was later changed to a whole-life tariff.

Nilsen died in agony in Full Sutton jail in East Yorkshire in 2018 after being left lying in his own faeces for two hours as his condition deteriorated.

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