1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Danish inventor confesses to killing Swedish reporter

September 9, 2020

Peter Madsen had consistently denied killing Swedish journalist Kim Wall claiming her death was an accident. But in a new documentary, he admits murdering her.

Peter Madsen
Image: Imago

A Danish inventor, serving life in prison for murdering a female Swedish journalist on his homemade submarine, admitted to the crime for the first time in a documentary broadcast in Denmark on Wednesday.

Judges convicted Peter Madsen in April 2018 for the murder and sexual assault of Kim Wall, who disappeared on August 10, 2017.

"It's my fault she died. And it's my fault because I committed the crime. It's all my fault," Madsen said in the documentary, according to a transcript released by its producers.

The series is based on more than 20 hours of phone calls recorded between a journalist and Madsen without his knowledge.

He later gave his permission for the interviews to be used for the documentary.

The engineer confessed in court to dismembering the reporter's remains and throwing them overboard.

But he was always denied killing her, telling his trial Wall's death was an accident.

UC3 Nautilus U-Boot
Madsen had already admitted to dismembering Kim Wall's body after showing her his submarineImage: Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix/M. Claus Rasmussen

Details of the case

The Swedish journalist boarded Madsen's submarine on August 10 to interview him for a story she was working on.

In the early hours of Friday morning, the navy rescued him after his submarine sank in waters close to the Danish capital.

Madsen told officials at the time that he had left Wall in Copenhagen at about 10:30 p.m. local time the previous evening.

On Friday morning, her boyfriend raised the alarm.

Investigators said Madsen changed his story several times after charging him with manslaughter on August 11, 2017.

He first claimed Wall died after accidentally hitting her head on the submarine hatch.

But a passing cyclist found the 30-year-old's headless torso 10 days later. Divers found more body parts weeks later.

In October, Madsen gave a new version of events. He told police the award-winning journalist died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Prosecutor added a murder charge in January 2018.

An autopsy report at Madsen's trial said Wall probably died from suffocation or having her throat slit.

The decomposed state of her body meant it was impossible to determine the exact cause of death, the report said.

jf/rt (AFP, EFE)