What lies be­neath

Jour­nal­ist Kim Wall be­came her own big­gest story

Pick Me Up! Special - - News -

When it launched in May 2008, it was the largest pri­vately built sub­ma­rine in the world.

The 60ft UC3 Nau­tilus was built over a three-year pe­riod by Dan­ish in­ven­tor Pe­ter Mad­sen and a group of vol­un­teers.

It was a tri­umph that made ec­cen­tric Pe­ter, 47, fa­mous – and he rel­ished it.

From be­ing a teen, Pe­ter had al­ways dreamed big.

He was a skilled en­gi­neer who loved to build rock­ets, but his great­est suc­cess was the Nau­tilus.

Many in Den­mark be­lieve Pe­ter was a great mind, who was friendly and like­able.

But for­mer girl­friends said he was pro­mis­cu­ous and had a dark side. He watched vi­o­lent pornog­ra­phy and was fas­ci­nated by erotic as­phyx­i­a­tion.

All the while, Pe­ter courted the world’s press which fu­elled his van­ity.

Kim Wall was a Swedish jour­nal­ist who was set to move to China with her boyfriend.

Kim, 30, had been try­ing to in­ter­view Pe­ter for months and he’d fi­nally agreed to speak to her on Au­gust 10, 2017.

Kim was so keen to pro­file Pe­ter that she left her own leav­ing party to visit Pe­ter on his sub in Copen­hagen har­bour. It was typ­i­cal of Kim to go out of her way to get the big story.

She’d trav­elled the world to high­light gen­der is­sues and ex­pose so­cial in­jus­tice.

That day, Kim left her party and headed to meet Pe­ter.

She mes­saged her boyfriend dur­ing the evening.

I’m still alive btw, one read. But go­ing down now! I love you!

There were even pho­tographs taken as she stood in the tower of the sub with Pe­ter as they sailed away. When the mes­sages stopped and Kim didn’t re­turn home, Kim’s boyfriend re­ported her miss­ing.

Po­lice tried to find the sub, but it didn’t have a satel­lite track­ing sys­tem. But Pe­ter was about to con­tact po­lice him­self.

The day af­ter Kim went miss­ing, Pe­ter called for help from the Copen­hagen Har­bour.

The 33-ton Nau­tilus had sunk and Pe­ter was res­cued, un­harmed.

He blamed tech­ni­cal prob­lems, but he’d scut­tled the ves­sel him­self. What was he try­ing to hide? Pe­ter said he’d dropped Kim off on an is­land af­ter a few hours into the trip. But in­ves­ti­ga­tors found blood on the sub, and on Pe­ter’s clothes.

Days later, Kim’s head­less, limb­less torso He’d built the sub­ma­rine from scratch Kim sail­ing away with her killer

What was he try­ing to hide?

was washed up on the shore in a plas­tic bag.

Later, divers would find her limbs and head weighed down in the wa­ters. Sud­denly Pe­ter changed his story. He claimed Kim died af­ter she was hit over the head when the hatch door slammed shut.

He said he’d pan­icked and was try­ing to pro­tect her fam­ily from the de­tails of her death.

When Pe­ter was told there was no such in­juries found on Kim’s skull, he changed his story again.

This time there was a fault in the sub, flood­ing it with ex­haust fumes.

Kim had been in­side, but it caused a vac­uum ef­fect that stopped him from be­ing able to open the hatch door, and she’d died.

The coro­ner found no such fumes in her lungs.

De­tec­tives found Pe­ter’s cold and emo­tion­less ac­counts dis­turb­ing.

Even if Kim had died in an ac­ci­dent, why dis­mem­ber her body and cast her into the sea?

In­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered that Pe­ter had searched ‘be­headed girl agony’ hours be­fore Kim had ar­rived to in­ter­view him and had watched a video of a girl hav­ing her throat slit.

Pe­ter had tried to in­vite other women aboard – they’d re­fused. Sadly, Kim had been the one to ac­cept his of­fer.

The case drew at­ten­tion from around the world and was com­pared to the pop­u­lar Nordic crime dra­mas.

But for Kim’s fam­ily, the com­par­i­son was hurt­ful.

Kim wasn’t a fic­tional char­ac­ter and her death was bru­tally real.

At the 2017 trial, the ver­dict was reached by a judge and two ju­rors.

Pe­ter pleaded not guilty to pre­me­di­ated mur­der but ad­mit­ted to des­e­crat­ing a corpse.

He re­turned to the

ex­pla­na­tion that he’d lost grip of a 150lb hatch while giv­ing Kim a tour of the sub,

crush­ing her head. Pe­ter told pros­e­cu­tors that

he’d then pan­icked and chopped Kim up to give her a ‘burial at sea’. ‘In the shock I was in, it was the right thing to do,’ he told the court. ‘What do you do when you have a large prob­lem? You make it smaller.’ His de­fence pointed out that due to the de­com­po­si­tion of the body parts in the wa­ter, it was im­pos­si­ble to say ex­actly how

Kim had died. Pe­ter didn’t deny mu­ti­lat­ing

the body, throw­ing it in the sea and ly­ing to po­lice, but there was no proof of an ac­tual mur­der. In con­trast, the pros­e­cu­tion

said that Pe­ter had planned Kim’s mur­der, mo­ti­vated by vi­o­lent sex­ual fan­tasies. Be­fore Kim stepped onto the

sub­ma­rine, he’d brought a knife, sharp­ened screw­driver and straps on board. He’d even brought on board

pipes that were used to weigh her body parts down.

They al­leged that Pe­ter had bru­tally sex­u­ally as­saulted her, killed her, then dis­mem­bered her to cover his tracks.

It was dif­fi­cult for her loved ones to hear .

There were two dozen stab wounds to her gen­i­tals – fu­elling the claim it was a sex­u­ally mo­ti­vated kill.

But Pe­ter said they were ran­domly in­flicted.

‘I pierced cer­tain parts of her body be­cause I did not want them to be in­flated by gas,’ he said. ‘There was noth­ing erotic in those blows.’

Ex­perts couldn’t say ex­actly what the cause of death was, but that her air­way had been cut off so she’d

ei­ther been stran­gled, had her throat cut, or she’d drowned.

Some of her wounds had oc­curred be­fore she’d died.

Just what hor­ror had Kim been through in her fi­nal mo­ments?

In April this year, Pe­ter Mad­sen was found guilty of mur­der, sex­ual as­sault and des­e­crat­ing a corpse. The de­ci­sion was unan­i­mous. ‘There is clear ev­i­dence that the ac­cused has shown an in­ter­est in killing and dis­mem­ber­ing peo­ple,’ the judge said, re­fer­ring to Pe­ter’s sor­did in­ter­net his­tory. Pe­ter was sen­tenced to life in prison with­out the chance of pa­role. Pe­ter was quiet and has since ap­pealed his sen­tence.

While he re­mains in the spot­light, Kim’s loved ones con­tinue to hon­our her mem­ory with a fund set up in her name to help ful­fil the dreams of other pas­sion­ate jour­nal­ists like her.

Kim was al­ways look­ing to find a story – never know­ing that one day, it would be her own death that would be mak­ing the head­lines.

He cut off her hair and limbs

Kim was a tal­ented jour­nal­ist

Divers searched for body parts

Crime scene

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