United Kingdom

Woman who befriended serial killer Dennis Nilsen while he was in prison saw him as 'paternal figure'

A woman who befriended serial killer Dennis Nilsen while he was in prison and exchanged over 300 letters with him has revealed she saw him as a 'paternal figure' and was 'devastated' when he died.

Andrea Kubinova, 30, from the Czech Republic, began writing to the Scottish murderer after feeling 'sympathetic' towards him when she read about his isolated upbringing. 

She admitted her mother and some of her friends were 'horrified' when she told them about her criminal pen pal, but she continued to enjoy a platonic relationship with Nilsen until his death aged 72 in May 2018.

When she heard he had died of a pulmonary embolism following surgery, Andrea told how a friend of Nilsen's said he would have wanted her to have some of his ashes, which she now keeps in her bedroom next to a pair of his glasses.

Andrea Kubinova, 30, from the Czech Republic, began writing to the Scottish murderer after feeling 'sympathetic' towards him when she read about his isolated upbringing

'It took me a long time to get over Des' death. He'd been my close friend for five years and it was tough to think I'd never receive a letter from him ever again,' she told Bella magazine.

'For the time I knew him, Des was a good man and a good friend to me and I miss him a lot.'

Nilson, known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, died at HMP Full Sutton 34 years into his life sentence for carrying out a murderous spree in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

One of the nation's most notorious murderers, Nilsen is believed to have killed as many as 15 gay men, most of them homeless, at his homes in Cricklewood and Muswell Hill, north London. 

Nilson, known as the Muswell Hill Murderer, died at HMP Full Sutton 34 years into his life sentence for carrying out a murderous spree in the late 1970s and early 1980s

Andrea told how she learned about Nilsen after reading a book on serial killers in 2013, and was 'intrigued' by him. 

A few months later she wrote to him, including a sketch of his dog Bleep, and the pair began exchanging weekly letters.

Andrea admitted one of her friends never spoke to her again when she told them about her communication with Nilsen, and her mother also urged her not to reply to him, but she felt it would be 'insensitive' not to.

The pair discussed their shared love of animals, and Andrea told Nilsen about her job as a hotel housekeeping supervisor in London, as well as her dating and social life.

'It may sound strange, but I enjoyed opening up to him about my life,' she told the publication. 

When she heard he had died of a pulmonary embolism following surgery, Andrea told how a friend of Nilsen's said he would have wanted her to have some of his ashes, which she now keeps in her bedroom next to a pair of his glasses

'I actually began to see him as a paternal figure and cherished the advice he'd give me.'

Andrea made a seven hour coach trip to visit Nilsen in September 2014, after a year of exchanging letters, and said he was 'so friendly', adding: 'It was easy to forget the crimes he had committed.'

She said her boyfriend Johnathon, whom she met at work in 2017, knew about their friendship and supported it.

While the pair never spoke about the murders Nilsen committed - and she didn't ask - Andrea said he did once admit that he didn't deserve to be free and expressed remorse about the pain he'd caused his victims' families. 

Last year Nilsen's crimes were portrayed in Des, a chilling three-part ITV drama starring David Tennant.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain in September, Andrea said of Tennant's portrayal: 'It was like seeing a ghost, it was brilliant. Absolutely stunning.'

Despite their friendship, Andrea admits she often thinks of his victims and their families, and found it 'heartbreaking' seeing his crimes depicted on television.

When asked whether she thinks about his victims and their families, she said: 'Course I do... It was heartbreaking seeing all of those people speaking about their loved ones. It was difficult.' 

Dennis Nilsen's crimes were portrayed in Des, a chilling three-part drama from ITV, starring Broadchurch and Doctor Who star David Tennant (pictured)

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