Woman living in Dublin told her brother was first victim of killer
A woman living in Dublin has been informed by UK police that her 14-year-old brother who went missing without trace in London 27 years ago was the first victim of one of Britain's most notorious serial killers.
The family of teenager Stephen Holmes had no idea what became of him after his disappearance in December 1978 while he was on his way to the family home in Kilburn after a pop concert in Willesden.
However, the dead boy's sister, Deborah Mallerman, who lives in the Brookwood Estate, Artane, Dublin, was this week told that convicted serial killer Dennis Nilsen has now admitted that her brother was his first victim.
Nilsen (59) confirmed this to police in the UK after they showed him pictures of the boy. He killed at least 12 men and boys.
He was convicted at the Old Bailey in November 1983 of six sample counts of murder. The remaining six of his known victims had not been identified at the time of his trial.
The trial judge ordered that Nilsen not be eligible for parole for a minimum of 25 years.
He has served his sentence in a variety of prisons across England and has written a book on his life. The authorities in the UK have blocked its publication.
Nilsen killed his victims over a five-year period, beginning with Stephen Holmes.
He strangled them with neckties, keeping their corpses in his London flats for varying periods because he wanted their "company".
He then disposed of the bodies by cutting them up and flushing them down the toilet.
He burned some of the corpses in his back garden and raked the ashes into the soil.
He has told police that he sometimes took the remains of some of his victims from their hiding places in his flats and watched TV with them or placed them in his bed.
Ms Mallerman's family issued a statement through the police in London, where her father Francis still lives.
The statement read: "We are thankful to the police and glad that it is all over now. We hope that people will respect our privacy at this sad time."
Stephen Holmes's parents, Francis and Kathleen, emigrated from Dublin to London, where Stephen Holmes and his sister were born.
Mrs Holmes died aged 62 in 2002 in London. She had campaigned for information on her son until her death.
At the time of his arrest in 1983, Nilsen told the police that his first victim was a male Irish teenager.
However, police only linked Stephen Holmes to Nilsen's admissions when files on missing persons were being reviewed last year. Photographs of the boy were shown to Nilsen, who confirmed that the pictures were of his first victim.
In statements to the police after he was caught, Nilsen told of how he killed his first victim, now identified as Stephen Holmes.
He said he met him in a pub and brought him back to his flat in nearby Cricklewood, where he lived at the time.
He told police that he gave the youth alcohol and as he later slept strangled him with a necktie before finally killing him by drowning him in a bucket.
He told police he then washed the corpse and kept it under the floorboards for eight months.
He claims to have burned the remains in a garden he had access to, and raked the ashes into the soil, as he did with a number of his victims.
Dennis Nilsen: life and crimes
Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1946. After leaving school aged 16 he joined the British army and served in the Middle East. He left the army after 11 years and served as a police officer in Willesden Green Police Station for two years.
He became a civil servant and was working in a job centre in Kentish Town in 1978 when he met and killed Stephen Holmes, his first of at least 12 victims.
He usually met his victims in pubs, struck up a conversation and later brought them back to his flat for a drink. Unlike Stephen Holmes, most were young gay drifters. He strangled them with a necktie and kept the remains "for company", washing the corpses and hiding them under his floorboards.
At times he took out the corpses and watched TV with them or placed them in his bed. When he lived in his Cricklewood flat he had access to a garden and burned the bodies on a bonfire.
When he later moved to Muswell Hill he disposed of the remains of his victims by cutting them up and flushing them down the toilet. In 1983 neighbours complained of a foul smell. A worker unblocking the drains found human flesh. Nilsen was arrested and convicted of six sample counts of murder.