Danish convicted submarine killer admits murder of Swedish journalist

Peter Madsen, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall aboard his home-made submarine, has admitted to the crime for the first time in a documentary broadcast on Wednesday.

Danish convicted submarine killer admits murder of Swedish journalist
Denmark's Storstrøm Prison in June 2018. Photo: Asger Ladefoged/Ritzau Scanpix

The 49-year-old inventor, who was interviewed over the phone, answered “yes” to the journalist's question about whether he killed the 30-year-old woman who was interviewing him on board his privately-built submarine. 

“There is only one who is guilty, and that is me,” he said in the documentary.

The series, produced by Discovery Networks Denmark with the Danish title De hemmelige optagelser med Peter Madsen (The Secret Recordings with Peter Madsen) was released on Wednesday morning.

In a press statement, Discovery Networks Denmark said that journalist Kristian Linnemann had more than 20 hours of telephone conversation with Madsen, who is serving his sentence.

Madsen was convicted in convicted in April 2018 of the murder of Wall and sentenced to life in prison.

He later appealed against the sentence, asking the appeals court to give him a lighter punishment and arguing that life behind bars was “disproportionate”. He claimed during his trial that Wall’s death was an accident. The appeals court upheld the life sentence.

Although the case against Madsen is closed, forensic psychiatrists and investigators can learn something from the new conversations, according to Kurt Kragh, a former senior officer with the Danish police.

“When you obtain in this way so much knowledge about a perpetrator's characteristics, motives, premeditations and methods, and especially what resulted in him in deciding to commit one of the most brutal murders in criminal history, these lessons should be part of police and psychiatrists' knowledge,” Kragh says in the Discovery Networks Denmark press release.



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Danish police take to air in search for missing Swedish journalist

Copenhagen Police are extending their search for the missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall by air after carrying out a forensic examination of the submarine on board which she was last seen.

Danish police take to air in search for missing Swedish journalist
The search for Kim Wall has now been extended to Swedish waters. Photo: Fredrik Winbladh/Sjöräddningssällskapet/TT/Scanpix

In a press statement, police said they were currently unable to provide information about what was discovered during the examination and search of the UC3 Nautilus submarine.

Kim Wall, 30, vanished after having boarded the 18-metre Nautilus sub on Thursday evening, apparently as part of her work on a feature story about its owner, inventor and entrepreneur Peter Madsen.

Madsen alone was brought back to a harbour on Copenhagen on Friday after the vessel sank in waters near Køge Bay.

The Swede's body was not found inside the submarine after it was raised and brought to Copenhagen for examination.

46-year-old Madsen is accused of negligent manslaughter and was on Saturday remanded in custody for 24 days.

Swedish and Danish authorities are now cooperating on the search for the missing reporter.

“We are currently being assisted by Swedish police, who are calling for any witnesses from the Swedish side of the Öresund and the Køge Bay area regarding whether they have seen the submarine. Information gathered in Sweden will be handed over to Copenhagen Police on an ongoing basis,” the police statement said.

Police said that nearly 300 people have contacted them regarding the case, many within the past 24 hours.

A significant amount of photos and video clips of the submarine in connection with its sailing out into the Öresund Thursday evening have been received, police said. 

“We would still like to ask the public for help in order to determine the whereabouts of the submarine and receive knowledge of the dives it conducted,” the statement read.

“Currently, we know that the submarine sailed out Thursday the 10th of August at approximately 7pm, and that it was sailing in the area around Middelgrund for the next hour or so. The latest photo we have received from witnesses was taken at approximately 8:30pm,” police wrote.

Police also confirmed that the submarine passed close to a merchant ship around midnight between Thursday and Friday in the same area, as was reported by Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet on Monday, after a witness contacted the newspaper.

This was the last sighting of the submarine until Friday the 11th of August at approximately 10:30am in the Køge Bay, police also confirmed in the statement.

“We would still like to speak to possible witnesses who have information on the submarine’s sailing and dives in the time from 8:30pm until midnight and again from midnight until Friday at 10:30am,” the press message read.

“Currently we have no further information and will not be giving interviews,” police added.

READ ALSO: Danish submarine was 'deliberately sunk' after journalist vanished

Submarine disappearance timeline: What we know so far

Thursday 7pm: The submarine, crewed by its owner Peter Madsen and a Swedish journalist, sails from the Refshaleøen island harbour near Copenhagen.

Thursday 8:30pm: Denmark military authorities receive a message from a cruise ship that observed the submarine sail out of Copenhagen Harbour, according to a DR report.

Thursday around midnight: Nautilus is spotted sailing unusually close to a merchant ship. The submarine’s external lights are switched off, according to a report provided by a witness to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Friday 2:30am: The partner of the Swedish woman reports that the craft is missing. The Danish Defence Command (Værnsfælles Forsvarskommando) begins searching for the submarine.

Friday 10:30am: The submarine is sighted in Køge Bay. Radio contact is made and the owner says he is setting course to Copenhagen, and that the submarine has technical problems.

Friday 11:00am: The owner is recovered by a private boat, but there is no sign of the second crew member. The owner is sailed to land at Dragør Harbour.

Friday afternoon: Police in Sweden state that a missing person alert issued during the morning pertains to the woman on board the submarine and remains in place, reports Swedish news agency TT.

Friday 5:44pm: Copenhagen police announce through a press statement that the owner of the Nautilus has been charged over the woman's death. Police divers have located the sunken submarine but have not yet gained access to it.

Saturday afternoon: Madsen is remanded in custody for 24 days by Copenhagen City Court as work to raise the submarine begins and the identity of the woman emerges as journalist Kim Wall, after her family contacts Danish media.

Sunday: The raised submarine is brought to land and police technicians begin their examination, but no body is found on board.

Monday 9:30am: Madsen's lawyer informs media that her client accepts his preliminary detainment on charges of manslaughter. 

Monday 2:26pm: Following a forensic examination of the wreck, police announce that they believe the submarine to have been deliberately sunk.

Tuesday 1:53pm: Police announce that they are broadening their search area towards the Swedish coast, are working in cooperation with Swedish authorities and are using aircraft in the search for Wall.