Danish inventor Peter Madsen charged with journalist’s murder: prosecutors

Danish prosecutors on Tuesday formally charged inventor Peter Madsen with last year's murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose dismembered body parts were found at sea after she interviewed him on his homemade submarine.

Danish inventor Peter Madsen charged with journalist's murder: prosecutors
Peter Madsen's UC3 Nautilus submarine. File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix Denmark

Madsen, who was arrested and detained shortly after Wall's disappearance in August, has admitted dismembering her body and dumping it at sea but has denied intentionally killing her.

The prosecution will ask for a sentence of life imprisonment, Copenhagen Police confirmed.

A secondary claim for safe custody (forvaring in Danish) will also be made based on a Danish Medical Legal Council psychiatric assessment of Madsen, according to the police statement.

“This is a very unusual and extremely brutal case which has had tragic consequences for Kim Wall and her relatives. The interest in the case has been enormous. However, we hope the media will respect that further evidence in the case must be presented in court and not in the press,” Copenhagen Police special prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said.

Madsen's trial will begin on March 8th, charged with premeditated murder as well as dismemberment and “sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature”, prosecutors said.

They said it was not known exactly how Wall died, “but the homicide could have taken place by cutting of the throat or strangulation”.

The murder was committed “with prior planning and preparation”, according to the police indictment.

In a tragic case that shocked the public, the remains of 30-year-old Wall were found in Køge Bay off Copenhagen, weighed down by metal objects, after she vanished while interviewing Madsen on his submarine on August 10th.

Prosecutors have previously said they believe Madsen may have killed Wall as part of a sexual fantasy. Madsen has denied any sexual relations with Wall.

The 30-year-old Swedish journalist worked as a freelance writer based in New York and China, and her articles were published in The Guardian, The New York Times and others.

After intentionally sinking his submarine early on August 11th in Køge Bay, some 50 kilometres off the Danish capital, Madsen was picked up by a rescue vessel and initially told police he had dropped Wall off on land after their interview the previous evening.

He then went on to change his version of events several times.

A 46-year-old self-taught engineer, Madsen is an eccentric and relatively well-known figure in Denmark.

His homemade submarine Nautilus, launched in 2008, was the biggest private sub ever made when he built it with help from a group of volunteers.

In Tuesday's press statement, police also confirmed charges of severe violation of the Act on Safety at Sea against Madsen.

In the indictment, the prosecution claims the inventor's submarine should be confiscated and scrapped.



Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The National Unit for Special Crime has received 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief packages since 1st April 2020, according to a press release from the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet).

Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The frauds and attempted frauds amount to 212 million kroner, although some of the scams were discovered before the fraudsters got the money. More than 28 million kroner has been recovered through 102 recovery operations.

According to Jørgen Andersen, deputy police inspector and head of the Money Laundering Secretariat, the task has been taken “very seriously” in the secretariat since the introduction of corona relief packages.

“And it has had a high priority with us as authorities. But also with the notifiers – here primarily banks and the accountants – and we sat down together quite quickly in a community.

“Here, we organised the effort in such a way that when banks and auditors sent notifications to us where there was a suspicion of misuse of schemes, we typically sent them within 24 hours to the authorities who paid money on these schemes”, Andersen says.

Companies or individuals should contact the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet) if they suspect money laundering or terrorist financing.

In October 2020, an eight-billion kroner stimulus package was agreed in parliament to help Danish businesses and cultural institutions hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The financial package also included a liquidity fund totalling 28 million kroner. 

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new coronavirus relief for businesses and culture