Elizabeth Duthie Whyte Bio, Wiki
Elizabeth Duthie Whyte is best known for being the mother of Dennis Nilsen, a Scottish serial killer and necrophile who murdered at least 12 young men and boys between 1978 and 1983 in London, England.
The unimaginable crimes of the Muswell Hill Murderer Dennis Nilsen will be told through ITV’s thrilling true-crime drama. Necrophiliac Nilsen is played by Broadchurch and Doctor Who actor David Tennant in the new series.
Our three-part drama #Des starring David Tennant, Daniel Mays and Jason Watkins follows the arrest and trial of serial killer Dennis Nilsen. The series begins tonight and continues Tuesday and Wednesday 9pm on @ITV pic.twitter.com/g24de2BTX3
— New Pictures (@NewPicturesLtd) September 14, 2020
Nilsen was convicted at the Old Bailey of six counts of murder and two of attempted murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment on November 4, 1983, with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 25 years.
The sentence given to him in 1983 was later upgraded to a whole-life tariff and Scottish-born Nilsen died in May 2018 at the Full Sutton maximum security prison.
Dennis Nilsen Parents & Siblings
Dennis Andrew Nilsen was born on 23 November 1945 in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. He was second of three children born to Elizabeth Duthie Whyte, and Olav Magnus Moksheim (who had adopted the surname, Nilsen). The other children were Olav Jr. and a daughter named Sylvia.
His father was a Norwegian soldier who had travelled to Scotland in 1940 as part of the Free Norwegian Forces, following the German occupation of Norway. After a brief courtship, he married Elizabeth Whyte in May 1942 and the newlyweds moved into her parents’ house.
The marriage between Nilsen’s parents was difficult since Olav Nilsen did not view married life with any seriousness, being preoccupied with his duties with the Free Norwegian Forces, and making little attempt to spend much time with or find a new home for his wife. After the birth of her third child, Nilsen’s mother concluded she had “rushed into marriage without thinking”. The couple divorced in 1948. All three of the couple’s children — Olav Jr., Dennis and Sylvia — had been conceived on their father’s brief visits to the mother’s household. Her parents, Andrew and Lily (née Duthie) Whyte (who had never approved of their daughter’s choice of husband), were supportive of their daughter following her divorce, and considerate of their grandchildren.
Dennis Nilsen Childhood
Nilsen enjoyed a quiet yet adventurous child. His earliest childhood memories were of family picnics in the Scottish countryside with his mother and siblings, of his grandparents’ pious lifestyle (which he later described as “cold and dour”), and of being taken on long countryside walks carried on the shoulders of his maternal grandfather, to whom he was particularly close. Olav Jr. and Sylvia occasionally accompanied Dennis and his grandfather on these walks. Despite only being 5 years old, Nilsen vividly recalled these walks as being “very long … along the harbour, across the wide stretch of beach, up to the sand-dunes, which rise thirty feet behind the beach … and on to Inverallochy”. He later described this stage of his childhood as one of contentment, and his grandfather being his “great hero and protector”, adding that whenever his grandfather (who was a fisherman) was at sea, “Life would be empty [for me] until he returned”.
Nilsen’s grandfather’s health was in decline by 1951, but he continued to work. On 31 October 1951, while fishing in the North Sea, he died of a heart attack at the age of 62. His body was brought ashore and returned to the Nilsen family home prior to burial. In what Nilsen later described as his most vivid childhood recollection, his mother, weeping, asked him whether he wanted to see his grandfather. When he replied that he did, he was taken into the room where his grandfather lay in an open coffin. As he gazed upon the body, his heart beat strongly as his mother told him his grandfather was sleeping, adding that his grandfather had “gone to a better place”.
In the years following the death of his grandfather, Nilsen became more quiet and withdrawn, often standing alone at the harbour watching the herring boats. At home, he seldom participated in family activities and retreated from any attempts by adult family members to demonstrate any affection towards him. He grew to resent what he saw as the unfair amount of attention his mother, grandmother and later, stepfather displayed towards his older brother and younger sister. Nilsen envied Olav’s popularity. He often talked to or played games with his younger sister, Sylvia, to whom he was closer than any other family member.
On one of his solo excursions to the beach at Inverallochy, in 1954 or 1955, Nilsen became submerged beneath the water and was almost dragged out to sea. Nilsen initially panicked, flailing his arms and shouting. As he “gasped for air which wasn’t there” he recalled believing that his grandfather was about to arrive and pull him out, before experiencing a sense of tranquillity. His life was saved by another youth who dragged him ashore.
Shortly after this incident, Nilsen’s mother moved out of his grandparents’ home and into a flat with her three children. She later married a builder named Andrew Scott, with whom she had four more children in as many years. Although Nilsen initially resented his stepfather (whom he viewed as an unfair disciplinarian), he gradually came to grudgingly respect him. The family moved to Strichen in 1955.
Dennis Nilsen Sexuality
At the onset of puberty, Nilsen discovered he was homosexual, which initially confused and shamed him. He kept his sexuality hidden from his family and his few friends. Because many of the boys to whom he was attracted had facial features similar to those of his younger sister, Sylvia, on one occasion he sexually fondled her, believing that his attraction towards boys might be a manifestation of the care he felt for her.
Nilsen made no efforts to seek sexual contact with any of the peers to whom he was sexually attracted, although he later said he had been fondled by older youth and did not find the experience unpleasant. On one occasion, he also caressed and fondled the body of his older brother as he slept. As a result of this, Olav Jr. began to suspect his brother was homosexual and regularly belittled him in public — referring to Dennis as “hen” (Scottish dialect for “girl”). Nilsen initially believed that his fondling of his sister may have been evidence that he was bisexual.