Man given life sentence for murdering journalist Kim Wall aboard his submarine
Unfortunately, the story of Kim Wall, the journalist who went missing after boarding a submarine with a Danish inventor for research, is as sinister as people feared. The 30-year-old freelance journalist from Sweden boarded the submarine in August last year, and, after her boyfriend reported her missing to police when she didn't come home that evening, people began fearing for the worst.
Having studied at Columbia University in New York, she worked with various international publications including The New York Times and Vice, and her latest story was meant to be around Peter Madsen, a Danish submarine maker who invited her aboard his 40-tonne, UC3 Nautilus submarine. The 46-year-old taught himself to make submarines and rockets, using money that was crowdfunded for his projects.
Thursday marked the verdict of his trial in a Copenhagen court, and it was revealed that Madsen was found guilty of having murdered, dismembered, and sexually assaulted Wall. The court found that he plotted to kill Wall, and originally intended to suffocate her or cut her throat.
The case began when Wall boarded Madsen's submarine on August 10th 2017, together photographed waving as they left a Copenhagen port. When she failed to return home that evening, authorities issued a search for the young journalist and Madsen's submarine, which did not have a tracking device.
After sightings were made of the vessel, it sank the next morning. Police believed it was a "deliberate" act by Madsen, who became a suspect in Wall's disappearance. Madsen was rescued in the bay where the submarine sank, but Wall was nowhere to be seen. The vessel was searched, but no-one was found on board.
Several interrogations ensued, with Madsen insisting that he had dropped Wall off "after dark" at her boyfriend's restaurant. He changed his story later, claiming she died as the results of an "accident" on board. He continued to plead not guilty, saying he buried the body at sea.
What emerged next was even more worrying. A headless torso washed ashore, found by a passing cyclist. DNA on the body matched that of Wall, and it was found that her head, arms and legs had all been sawn off. Divers found a bag two months later containing her head and missing body parts. It had been weighed down with pieces of metal.
In court in October, Madsen insisted that she died in an accident in the submarine that had nothing to do with him. According to the New York Times, the judge said his explanation was "not reasonable". They brought up evidence from the autopsy which showed the 30-year-old had been stabbed at least 14 times, including to her genitals. Her DNA had also been found on Madsen's hands, nostrils and mouth.
A hard drive belonging to the self-taught engineer revealed videos of women being tortured and killed. This, along with Wall's autopsy and Madsen "fail[ing] to give trustworthy explanations" lead Copenhagen City Court Judge Anette Burkoe to describe the crime as "a cynical and planned sexual assault and brutal murder of a random woman". Madsen had "shown interest for killing and maiming of people", and was found guilty of murdering, dismembering and sexually assaulting Kim Wall.
He faces life in prison without parole, which is 16 years in Denmark, although this could be extended.