INTO THE DEEP: THE SUBMARINE MURDER
KIM WALL’S LIFE ENDED TRAGICALLY AFTER SHE STEPPED ONTO A VESSEL
When Kim Wall stood at the entrance of Peter Madsen’s submarine, the young journalist was thrilled to be getting a careerdefining story.
After months of chasing an interview, Swedish-born writer Kim, 30, had finally been invited onto the Danish inventor’s homemade vessel.
On August 11, 2017, Kim left the home she shared with her boyfriend, Ole Stobbe, and boarded Madsen’s submarine, named UC3 Nautilus, at about 7pm.
It was supposed to be Kim’s final story before she moved to Beijing that month with Ole.
But Kim would never make it to Beijing. Or even back home. Before meeting Madsen, Kim sent a chilling last text to her boyfriend: “I’m still alive btw. But I’m going down now. I love you!”
When a few hours passed and Kim hadn’t returned from the submarine, Ole raised the alarm.
By the following morning, the UC3 Nautilus still hadn’t returned to the dock.
At 10.30am, Madsen’s submarine was spotted in Koge Bay, about 45km from where it set off. It was foundering and Madsen needed to be rescued from the water.
While the inventor was safely brought to land, there was no sign of Kim.
Madsen was quickly arrested by Danish police and was charged with negligent manslaughter.
Authorities suspected the then 46-year-old had scuttled his vessel – meaning he’d allowed the submarine to sink on purpose by letting water enter through the hull.
At first, Madsen claimed he had dropped Kim back on land before his vessel sank.
But his story changed when he alleged Kim had died in an on-board ‘accident’, prompting him to dispose of her body in a panic.
It took two weeks before the truth would finally be revealed.
On August 21, a cyclist noticed a human torso washed up on a beach in
Amager, an island off Copenhagen.
Upon examination, it was found to be the mutilated body of Kim. Shockingly, the torso had 15 stab wounds, mostly in the groin area.
By October, more parts of her body were found in the water. Police divers found submerged plastic bags containing Kim’s head, legs, clothes and a knife.
The following month,
Kim’s arms were discovered in the bay.
Madsen had testified in court that the journalist had died after she hit her head on the submarine’s hatch cover. He later claimed Kim’s death had been the result of poisonous exhaust gases entering the submarine while he was on deck – and he admitted to dismembering her corpse and disposing of it at sea.
As the heinous details emerged, Madsen continued to emphatically deny intentionally killing Kim.
However, prosecutors rejected his version of events. They argued Kim’s death was no accident and was likely sexually motivated.
The evidence was mounting against Madsen. Before meeting Kim, it was found the inventor had watched a gruesome beheading video on his phone. He also had videos on his phone of women being murdered. Eventually, in April 2018, a Danish court found Peter Madsen, 47, guilty of premeditated killing. Prosecutors say he bound, tortured, sexually assaulted and stabbed Kim after she entered his submarine.
“The court finds that the evidence showed Madsen tied up Kim Wall,” presiding judge Anette Burko said. The horrific details of the journalist’s last moments alive shocked and sickened the court. Prosecutor Jakob Buchjepsen said in his closing argument: “This case has crept under my skin more than other cases.
“It is a case so heinous and repulsive that as a prosecutor, it renders you speechless. Peter Madsen is not normal. He is a danger to society.”
Madsen was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Kim Wall.
Since her death nearly three years ago, Kim’s family and friends have worked hard to ensure the awful way she died does not overshadow her life.
She travelled to far-flung and dangerous destinations in pursuit of stories, including Cuba and Kenya, and is remembered as a tenacious and beautiful writer.
Ole Stobbe said of his late girlfriend: “She was at the same time an incredibly ambitious journalist and an amazingly curious person, who found beauty in all places and couldn’t stop herself from travelling, experiencing, discovering and sharing with others.”