DES star Daniel Mays has revealed the 'intense pressure and torment' police faced as they battled for justice for Dennis Nilsen's victims.
The 42-year-old plays Detective Peter Jay in the new ITV drama, which looks at real life serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who murdered more than a dozen men at his London home from 1978 until 1983.
Peter was one of the policemen who arrived at Dennis' flat after human remains had reportedly been found in the drains.
The policeman got more than he bargained for when Dennis – played by David Tennant – confessed to killing 15 men, triggering a high profile police investigation.
While Dennis confessed to the killings, the fact he didn't know many of his victim's names and had disposed of most of the bodies made the case difficult and almost played out in reverse.
Daniel said: "Even with all of the experience that Peter Jay had as a policeman, he had never encountered anything of this magnitude and scale.
"The world’s media and the spotlight were on Peter himself to lead the investigation with his team of officers. It was a really pressurised, difficult and strenuous situation they had to go through."
Peter has sadly passed away but Daniel had the chance to speak to his former colleagues and his wife, Linda, to learn more about him and how he handled the pressures of such a unique and high profile case.
He said: "He was a very fluent and intelligent speaker, and a diligent
and incredibly good policeman.
"More than anything, his driving force throughout this case was to get closure for the families of the victims.
"They ended up only convicting Nilsen for six murders because it was costing a huge amount of money and resources for the police force, so they decided to shut it down.
"It is quite telling that two years after the Nilsen case was over, he decided to leave the police force.
"I do think there was a lot of regret that he couldn’t give closure to a lot of the families. I think that was the torment for him."
Des begins tonight at 9pm on ITV.
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