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Danish inventor charged with murdering Swedish journalist Wall on submarine

Remains found at sea last August after her interview with Peter Madsen

Swedish journalist Kim Wall died onboard a submarine owned by Peter Madsen. Tom Wall via AP
Swedish journalist Kim Wall died onboard a submarine owned by Peter Madsen. Tom Wall via AP

Danish prosecutors have formally charged inventor Peter Madsen with murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall during a trip on his submarine last August, saying he either cut her throat or strangled her.

Parts of the reporter's body were found at sea after she interviewed the Danish inventor on his vessel.

Mr Madsen, who was arrested and detained shortly after Wall’s disappearance, is charged with premeditated murder, dismemberment and "sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature", prosecutors said.

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said on Tuesday the case is "very unusual and extremely gross".

Mr Madsen claims Wall died accidentally inside the submarine while he was on deck during the excursion.

However, he has admitted cutting up her body and dumping it into the sea.

The start of the trial has been set for March 8. A verdict is expected on April 25.


Read more:

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The 30-year-old journalist made a name for herself by producing a string of stories from Sri Lanka, Uganda, Cuba, the Marshall Islands and many other locations.

She was last seen alive on the evening of August 10 on the submarine, known as the UC3 Nautilus. Police believe Mr Madsen and Wall did not know each other before their trip.

Concerns about Wall's safety surfaced the next day, when her boyfriend reported her missing. Hours later, Mr Madsen — an entrepreneur who dreamed of launching a manned space mission — was rescued from his sinking submarine.

Investigators believe he had sabotaged the vessel despite his assertion that it had suffered a technical fault. He told authorities he had dropped Wall off on an island several hours after their voyage began.

Later, he dropped that account and said she had died in an accident on board. He said he had buried her at sea.

Mr Madsen claimed she had slipped and suffered a blow to the head from a heavy metal hatch on the sub, but police found no indication of a skull injury when her head was located.

Her torso was found on a southern Copenhagen coast in late August and her head, legs and clothes were later discovered in plastic bags at sea. The bags also contained a knife, and heavy metal objects intended to take them to the sea floor.

An examination of the torso revealed wounds to her genitals and ribcage that were believed to have been caused during her death or shortly after.

Danish prosecutors said earlier they believe Mr Madsen killed Wall as part of a sexual fantasy game.

During their investigation, police found videos on Mr Madsen's personal computer of women being tortured, murdered and decapitated. Mr Buch-Jepsen said the videos are thought to be of real events.

Wall grew up in southern Sweden, across a strait from Copenhagen.

Her family said it was unimaginable that she could be killed "just a few miles from the childhood home" after reporting from so many dangerous places.

Mr Madsen, 46, is a self-taught aerospace engineer who was one of the founders of Copenhagen Suborbitals, which is dedicated to building submarines and manned spacecraft. He made his name in 2008 with the launch of Nautilus, which was billed as the world's largest privately-built submarine.

Updated: January 16, 2018 05:23 PM