How Douglas Stewart escaped Dennis Nilsen after waking to find he was tied up

Tonight is the last instalment in ITV’s crime drama Des, starring David Tennant as serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

In tonight’s episode the court case of Nilsen, who confessed to killing 15 men in London between 1978 and 1983, will start.

One of the key witnesses in the case Douglas Stewart – a man who managed to escape the serial killer’s clutches.

Another man, called Carl Stottor, also said Nilsen had attempted to strangle him.

Douglas testified first, explaining how he narrowly avoided becoming one of the deceased victims himself in November 1980.

Scottish barman Douglas said that he had woken in Nilsen’s flat to find his ankles were bound.

The serial killer was strangling him while on top of him while he was sitting in a chair.

But the 29-year-old managed to overpower Nilsen before escaping.

Douglas ran to a telephone box and told police what had happened.

He had taken a police officer to the flat where Nilsen had attempted to murder him.

However, Nilsen had manage to explain the situation away by calling it a “lover’s quarrel”.

  • Des viewers moan Dennis Nilsen's 'non-stop' smoking scenes are 'hurting their lungs'

Douglas said that “as soon as the word ‘homosexual’ was mentioned the police lost all interest”.

This took place the same year Nilsen murdered 16-year-old Martyn Duffey.

Nilsen found the runaway sleeping rough at Euston station before taking him home for a meal.

Nilsen was eventually convicted at the Old Bailey of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder.

He died in prison in May 2018, 34 years into his prison sentence, at the age of 72.

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