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Crime

Danish inventor Peter Madsen charged with murdering former SCMP reporter Kim Wall aboard home-made submarine

Wall worked as an editorial intern and reporter in Hong Kong for the South China Morning Post from June to September, 2013, covering news about China for the national desk

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 8:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 10:08pm

Danish prosecutor charges inventor Peter Madsen with murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his submarine.

Wall vanished after interviewing Madsen aboard his home-made submarine on August 10 last year. Her headless torso was found floating in waters off Copenhagen on August 21.

Madsen has admitted cutting up her body and dumping it at sea but has denied intentionally killing her. His trial will begin on March 8, charged with premeditated murder, as well as dismemberment and “sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature”, prosecutors said.

Decapitated head of Swedish journalist Kim Wall found

After Wall failed to return home following the interview, her boyfriend reported her missing on August 11. That same day, Madsen was rescued from waters between Denmark and Sweden shortly before his submarine sank.

Investigators recovered and searched the vessel, which police believe Madsen sank intentionally.

Madsen, an eccentric self-taught engineer, has offered shifting versions of what occurred.

In September, he told a Copenhagen court that a 70kg hatch door fell on Wall’s head by accident, killing her instantly and causing her to bleed from the head. In a panic, he threw her overboard, he said, insisting the body was intact. Wall’s decapitated head was found in October.

“I lose my foothold and the hatch shuts,” Madeen told the court. “Kim had been severely hurt and was laying with an intense bleeding. There was a pool of blood where she had landed.”

“In the shock I was in, it was the right thing to do,” Madsen said, adding that he had even contemplated taking his own life.

Prosecutors have previously said they believe Madsen killed Wall as part of a sexual fantasy.

Investigators found a hard disk in Madsen’s workshop that contained fetish films in which women were tortured, decapitated and burned alive.

Madsen, has denied any sexual relations with Wall, and insisted the hard drive did not belong to him.

An autopsy showed multiple mutilation wounds to Wall’s genitals.

“This is a very unusual and extremely brutal case,” prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said in a statement.

“We hope the media will respect that further evidence in the case must be presented in court and not in the press.”

Danish submarine owner says journalist died after being hit by hatch

In addition to launching his home-made submarine, Madsen has also successfully launched rockets with the aim of developing private space travel.

The Nautilus was the biggest private sub ever made when Madsen built it in 2008 with help from a group of volunteers.

In 2015, Madsen sent a text message to two members of the board claiming: “There is a curse on Nautilus”.

“That curse is me. There will never be peace on Nautilus as long as I exist,” he wrote.

Wall worked as an editorial intern and reporter in Hong Kong for the South China Morning Post from June to September, 2013, covering news about China for the national desk.

In addition to The South China Morning Post, her work has appeared in Harpers, The Guardian, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic and many other publications.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse