Peter Madsen, an eccentric inventor who gained notoriety for his DIY submarine and mini-rocket projects, has been charged with the murder of Kim Wall, a young journalist that was writing a story about him. After months of shifting stories, prosecutors believe that Madsen intentionally killed Wall and that the act was premeditated.
In August of last year, Madsen, 46, was rescued after his UC3 Nautilus submarine sank off the coast of Denmark. He claimed to have been alone when a malfunction occurred and he had to abandon ship. But when Wall's boyfriend told authorities that she was missing and last seen getting on the submarine with Madsen, the inventor's story changed several times.
Wall was a respected freelance journalist. Born in Sweden, she travelled the world filing stories on a variety of topics for The New York Times, The Guardian and The Atlantic. She had gone to Copenhagen to write a piece on Madsen and his ambitious projects that he pulled together with various artist collectives. After the submarine sank, her body was found dismembered. After initially stating that he'd left her on the shore the previous evening, Madsen later said that she died in an accident when the sub's heavy metal hatch hit her on the head. He said that he weighed her body down and dropped it into the ocean before intentionally sinking the UC3 Nautilus. He denied dismembering her body or engaging any sexual activity with Wall.
Manslaughter charges were being considered and a psychological evaluation of Madsen was ordered. But on Tuesday, Copenhagen Police filed formal charges against him, accusing the inventor of premeditated murder; indecent handling of a corpse; and sexual assault, without intercourse, of a particularly dangerous nature, The Guardian reports. He was also charged with two serious violations of the Maritime Safety Act. Prosecutors believe Madsen either strangled Wall or slit her throat.
Acquaintances of Madsen have previously told reporters that he was very open about his predilection for sadistic sexual activity, and authorities have claimed to have found videos of women being decapitated on his personal computer. No further details have been released.
After having a falling out with the group, Madsen turned his full attention to the UC3 Nautilus submarine project. Following a dispute with the UC3 Nautilus Submarine Association, Madsen took full ownership of the sub, and he relaunched it in April of 2017 after raising funds on Indiegogo. The sub was recovered by authorities looking for evidence related to Wall's death and the prosecutor's office is asking that it be confiscated for destruction.
Madsen is set to stand trial on March 8, and the proceedings are scheduled to wrap up on April 25.