Danish submarine owner faces new charges over journalist’s death

The case has prompted investigators to reopen unsolved killings in Denmark

 

Danish authorities have filed another charge against the inventor of a home-made submarine suspected in the death of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose headless torso was found off Copenhagen.

Peter Madsen, already charged with preliminary manslaughter for Ms Wall’s death, now faces a charge of indecent handling of a corpse, according to chief investigator Jens Moeller Jensen.

Mr Madsen denies wrongdoing, saying Ms Wall died in an accident aboard the submarine and he buried her at sea.

She was last seen alive on the submarine on August 10th and her naked torso was found on Monday.

Police said her head, arms and leg had been deliberately cut off. They also said a piece of metal had been attached to the torso “likely with the purpose to make it sink”, and marks on it indicated someone had tried to press air out of the body so it would not float.

Under Denmark’s penal code, a manslaughter charge carries a prison sentence of between five years and life, and indecent handling of corpses carries a fine or up to six months in jail.

Peter Madsen inside the submarine from which Kim Wall went missing. Police expect to raise the preliminary charges against him from manslaughter to murder and indecent handling of a corpse when he appears at a custody hearing on September 5th. Photograph: AP
Peter Madsen inside the submarine from which Kim Wall went missing. Police expect to raise the preliminary charges against him from manslaughter to murder and indecent handling of a corpse when he appears at a custody hearing on September 5th. Photograph: AP

DNA tests made public on Wednesday confirmed the torso was Ms Wall’s and dried blood found inside the submarine, which sank during the trip, also matched her DNA.

Mr Moeller Jensen said investigators still were looking for other body parts and her clothes, including an orange turtleneck blouse, a black-and-white skirt and white trainers. Her family said Ms Wall was doing a story on Mr Madsen.

He added that divers were searching the harbour of Dragoer, a village on the southern tip of Amager, where Mr Madsen, an aerospace and submarine enthusiast, was detained after being rescued on August 11th from the sinking submarine.

Police believe he deliberately scuttled the vessel.

The case has prompted investigators to reopen unsolved killings in Denmark, including the 1986 find of the dismembered remains of a 22-year-old Japanese tourist whose corpse was found in several plastic bags in Copenhagen harbour.

Mr Moeller Jensen stressed that it was standard procedure to look at cold cases and there is no immediate link to Ms Wall’s killing.

AP