Murder of Kim Wall

On 10 August 2017, Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall boarded the midget submarine UC3 Nautilus with the intent of interviewing its owner, entrepreneur Peter Madsen. She was reported missing after the submarine failed to return to Refshaleøen, Copenhagen. The submarine was found sunken the following morning and Madsen was arrested upon being rescued from the water. Between 21 August and 29 November, Wall's dismembered body parts were found in different locations around the area. Charged with her murder, Madsen was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on 25 April 2018 by Copenhagen City Court[2] following a widely publicised trial.[3] The case is also known in Denmark as Ubådssagen (transl."The submarine case").[4]

Murder of Kim Wall
Native name Ubådssagen
Date10 or 11 August 2017
LocationKøge Bay
AccusedPeter Madsen
Indecent handling of a corpse
Sexual assault[1]
Trial8 March – 25 April 2018 (2018-03-08 2018-04-25)
SentenceLife imprisonment

Kim Wall

Kim Wall
Kim Isabel Fredrika Wall[5]

(1987-03-23)23 March 1987
Died10 or 11 August 2017 (aged 30)
Cause of deathUnknown[6]
Alma materLondon School of Economics
Columbia University
Years active2013–2017[7]

Kim Isabel Fredrika Wall (23 March 1987 – 10 or 11 August 2017) was a Swedish freelance journalist. She was born in Trelleborg, Scania,[8] to Ingrid and Joachim Wall, and had a younger brother, Tom.[9][10] After graduating from high school in Malmö, she received a bachelor's degree in international relations at the London School of Economics and a dual master's degree in journalism and international relations at Columbia University in New York City.[8][11][12] She wrote reports about a variety of topics for publications such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Vice, Slate, and Time.[8] In March 2016, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung awarded her the Hansel Mieth Prize for Best Digital Reportage for "Exodus", a multi-media report on climate change and nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands.[8][13] At the time of her death, Wall lived with her Danish boyfriend Ole Stobbe in Refshaleøen, Copenhagen.[14][15][16]


Disappearance and discovery of remains

On Thursday, 10 August 2017, Wall and boyfriend Ole Stobbe were preparing to host a farewell party in Refshaleøen prior to their planned move to Beijing on 16 August.[14][15][16] Before the party, she received a text from entrepreneur Peter Madsen—with whom she had requested an interview earlier in the year—inviting her to interview him on board his midget submarine UC3 Nautilus. She agreed to join him on the submarine for two hours and boarded Nautilus around 19:00 local time (UTC+2).[14][17] The submarine never returned to the harbour and Stobbe called the police at 01:43 that night to report Wall missing.[14] The submarine was sighted in Køge Bay southeast of Amager by Drogden lighthouse at 10:30 the next morning; it foundered at 11:00.[17]

On 21 August 2017, a cyclist found Wall's torso washed up on a beach in the southwest of Amager.[17] A post-mortem examination found 15 stab wounds,[18] mostly in the groin.[19] On 6 October, assisted by police dogs,[20] police divers found two plastic bags in Køge Bay containing Wall's head, legs, clothes and a knife;[21] six days later, a saw was found in the water.[22] On 21 and 29 November, police divers found Wall's arms in the bay.[23][24][25] Police probed possible links to other murder cases in Scandinavia, including the unsolved death of 22-year-old Kazuko Toyonaga in 1986 in Copenhagen, but did not find connections to any of them.[26][27][28]

Madsen was arrested upon being rescued from Køge Bay after UC3 Nautilus foundered on 11 August 2017, and was charged with negligent manslaughter. Police suspected that he had scuttled the submarine.[29][30] He initially stated that he had dropped Wall off on land,[31] but then admitted to dumping her body at sea after she died in what he claimed was an accident on board the submarine.[29][30] He testified in a court hearing on 5 September that Wall died after being struck on the head by the submarine's hatch cover.[32] The prosecution said that police had found videos on Madsen's computer showing women being murdered,[33] and that witnesses said that they had seen Madsen watching videos of decapitation and practising asphyxiation sex.[32] A post-mortem examination performed on Wall's head after it was found a month later found no signs of blunt trauma to the head[21] and did not determine the cause of death.[34][35] Madsen subsequently changed his story, admitting to dismembering Wall's body but continuing to deny intentionally killing her, saying that she may have died after poisonous exhaust gases entered the submarine while he was on deck.[36][37] The post-mortem performed on Wall's torso showed no signs of exhaust gases in her lungs.[6]

On 16 January 2018, Madsen was charged with murder, indecent handling of a corpse, and sexual assault. The prosecution accused him of having tortured Wall before killing her by cutting her throat or strangling her.[1][38] His trial began on 8 March at Copenhagen Court House.[39] On 25 April, he was convicted of all three charges and sentenced to life imprisonment.[2] Madsen appealed his sentence thé follow IV September at Østre Landsret, Copenhagen's High Court, which upheld the sentence.[40][41]


After her death, Wall's family and friends started the Kim Wall Memorial Fund, aiming to fund female reporters to cover stories of subcultural value.[42] A memorial run was organised in which people around the world were allowed to run or walk a distance in her memory, and took place on 10 August 2018, the first anniversary of her murder.[43][44] In October 2017, Wall was posthumously nominated for Prix Europa's Outstanding Achievement Award "Journalist of the Year".[45] On 9 November 2018, Wall's parents published a book in her memory titled Boken om Kim Wall: När orden tar slut (transl.The book of Kim Wall: When words end).[46]

In August 2018, Madsen was admitted to hospital after being attacked in prison by another inmate.[47]

See also


  1. Henley, Jon (16 January 2018). "Peter Madsen formally charged with murder of Kim Wall on submarine". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  2. Orange, Richard (25 April 2018). "Peter Madsen sentenced to life for murdering journalist Kim Wall". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  3. Orange, Richard (22 April 2018). "'Everyone is following it': millions gripped by Kim Wall murder trial as verdict nears". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  4. Stolt-Nielsen, Harald; Husøy, Eirik (21 August 2017). "Ubåtsaken: Dansk politi fant del av kvinnekropp i vannet" [Submarine case: Danish police find part of woman's body in water]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  5. "Coroner testifies in trial of submarine owner over death of Swedish journalist". The Local. 22 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  6. Lundberg, Simon (23 August 2017). "Journalisten Kim Wall blev bara 30 år – så var hennes liv" [Journalist Kim Wall was only 30 years old – this was her life]. Nyheter24 (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  7. Isaksson, Jenny (12 October 2017). "Känslofylld minnesstund för Kim Wall". Trelleborgs Allehanda (in Swedish). Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  8. "Miljonbelopp i Kim Walls fond – HD-Sydsvenskan skänker 100 000 kronor". Sydsvenskan (in Swedish). Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  9. Jamieson, Amber (23 August 2017). "Journalist Kim Wall remembered as a "badass" by her friends". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  10. Sorensen, Martin Selsoe (23 August 2017). "Kim Wall is confirmed dead as Danish inventor is investigated". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  11. "Nye oplysninger fra Kim Walls kæreste beskriver de sidste timer op til den skæbnesvangre sejlads". (in Danish). 25 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  12. Jeong, May (15 February 2018). "The final, terrible voyage of the 'Nautilus'". Wired. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  13. Olsen, Jan M. (6 March 2018). "Trial to begin in case of journalist killed in submarine". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  14. "Kim Wall: Headless body identified as missing journalist". BBC News. 23 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  15. Henley, Jon (3 October 2017). "Kim Wall 'stabbed 15 times' onboard Danish inventor's submarine". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  16. Sorensen, Martin Selsoe (4 October 2017). "Kim Wall was stabbed after boarding submarine, Danish prosecutor says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  17. "Svenske lighunde hjalp med at finde Kim Walls hoved og ben" [Swedish corpse sniffing dogs helped find Kim Wall's head and legs]. DR (in Danish). 7 October 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  18. Fajstrup, Marianne (7 October 2017). "Kim Walls hoved er fundet – uden kraniebrud eller andre tegn på "stump vold"" [Kim Wall's head found – with no fracture and no blunt trauma]. (in Danish).
  19. "Sav fundet i Køge Bugt i forbindelse med ubådssagen" [Saw found in Køge bay in connection to the submarine case]. TV2 (in Danish). 12 November 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  20. Toft, Emma (29 November 2017). "Politiet har fundet endnu en arm med forbindelse til ubådssagen" [Police has found another arm connected to the submarine case]. (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  21. "Politiet har fundet endnu en arm i Køge Bugt" [Police finds another arm in Køge Bay]. TV2 (in Danish). 29 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  22. Orange, Richard (7 January 2018). "A Copenhagen killing: the story behind the submarine murder". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  23. "Danish police probe possible link between Kim Wall killing and 1986 cold case". The Telegraph. 25 August 2017. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  24. Bakalus, Silla; Svensgaard, Karina (23 August 2017). "30 år efter makaber sag: Hænger uopklaret turist-mord sammen med ubådsmysteriet?" [30 years after macabre case: Is unsolved tourist murder linked to submarine mystery?]. (in Danish). Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  25. "Norsk politi har undersøgt Peter Madsens dna-profil" [Norwegian police has checked the DNA profile of Peter Madsen]. TV2 (in Danish). 11 October 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  26. "Kim Wall: Danish submarine was 'deliberately sunk'". BBC News. 13 August 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  27. Koerner, Claudia (12 August 2017). "Submarine builder arrested on suspicion of killing journalist after vessel sinks". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  28. Kentish, Ben (30 October 2017). "Inventor admits dismembering body of Swedish journalist who disappeared on submarine". The Independent. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  29. Orange, Richard (5 September 2017). "Danish submarine owner claims journalist Kim Wall died when she was hit by hatch cover". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  30. Thomsen, Julie Astrid (3 October 2017). "Danish inventor had murder videos on his computer: prosecutor". Reuters. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  31. "Journalist Kim Wall's head is found". BBC News. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  32. Slawson, Nicola (7 October 2017). "Police find head of murdered Swedish journalist Kim Wall". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  33. "Inventor admits dismembering Kim Wall". BBC News. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  34. "Politiet præciserer udmelding om Peter Madsen efter kritik" [Clarification by the police after criticism]. TV2 (in Danish). 1 November 2017. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  35. Sorensen, Martin Selsoe (2018). "Danish inventor abused Kim Wall before killing her, indictment says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  36. Retspsykiater om Peter Madsens adfærd i retten: Han sidder med en stor fordel og 'leger' med retten (in Danish), 9 March 2018, retrieved 11 August 2018
  37. Drama under ubådsagen: Domsmand kørt væk i ambulance (in Danish), retrieved 17 September 2018
  38. Ilsøe, Trine Maria (26 September 2018). "Dom i ubådssagen: Peter Madsen idømt livstid i landsretten". (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  39. "Kim Wall Memorial Fund".
  40. "One year on: Kim Wall remembered around the world with run event". 10 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  41. "Næsten 600 løb for Kim Wall - herunder den danske drabschef". Politiken (in Danish). 10 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  42. "Mother publishes book on murdered Swedish journalist Kim Wall". 11 November 2018. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  43. "Peter Madsen overfaldet af ung medfange". DR (in Danish). 10 August 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
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