Denmark tightens prison security after murderer’s escape

Denmark's justice ministry on Monday announced tighter security measures after lapses at the high-security prison holding convicted murderer Peter Madsen meant he almost escaped last month.

Denmark tightens prison security after murderer’s escape
Denmark's Herstedvester Prison. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

As well as increasing security at Herstedvester, near Copenhagen, the ministry announced inspections at prisons across the country and the recruitment of several specialists to reinforce the regime at other high-security jails.

The changes came after Madsen, jailed for life for the 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall when she went to interview him on board his homemade submarine, briefly broke out of Herstedvester Prison on October 20th.

During the break-out, 49-year-old Madsen used a fake explosives belt to threaten a prison psychologist.

Although he was only free for a few minutes before police surrounded him, the fact he managed to get that far meant that security was not good enough, said a ministry statement.

Prison officials had not been sufficiently aware of Madsen's willingness to plan and carry out serious crimes to make his escape, said the statement.

Madsen had been allowed unsupervised access to a workshop and, unaccompanied by staff, had been able to smuggle out the fake devices he used for his escape, said Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup.

A prison service report into the incident said Madsen had been allowed to move about inside the prison with a backpack without being challenged by guards.

Security has been stepped up in several blocks of the prison. Prisoners now have to carry all their personal effects in transparent bags and there is increased video-surveillance.

Since his escape bid, Madsen and five other prisoners have been transferred to another prison, the location of which has not been made public.

READ ALSO: How did Danish submarine murderer escape from prison and what are the consequences?

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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