The case involving the alleged murder of a Swedish reporter by Peter Madsen—engineer, inventor, and the man behind one of two Danish efforts to create a sub-orbital rocket to put a person into space—has taken yet another twist. About the only fact that Madsen had previously admitted to was that Kim Wall, who was writing a feature story about Madsen’s mission to put himself into space, had died on the evening of August 10 aboard UC3 Nautilus—the submersible craft he designed, built, and maintained with crowdsourced funding and the assistance of members of Copenhagen Suborbitals (another group of space enthusiasts).
When Madsen was rescued from his sinking sub on August 11, he said that he had dropped Wall off ashore the night she disappeared. Then he claimed she died in an accident when he dropped a hatch on her head. But now Madsen has once again changed his description of the events after the discovery of a saw blade believed to have been used in the decapitation and dismemberment and forensic evidence that shows Wall had not suffered from a blow to the head.
Madsen gave his latest account of Wall’s death in an October 14 interview with police. He has voluntarily agreed to stay in police custody; his pre-trial detention had been set to end on October 31. The change in Madsen’s account came as police confronted him with the latest forensic evidence, including traces of Wall’s blood on his clothing. On October 4, Wall’s head and legs were discovered floating in a bag; police found a saw in the bag as well.
While Madsen previously confessed to dismembering Wall’s body, he still asserted that her death was an accident, claiming she was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning from a leak in the exhaust of the submarine’s diesel engine. Steen Hansen, a press officer for the Copenhagen Police, said Madsen is “claiming that there wasn’t enough oxygen in the submarine and that she suffocated, and that he was upstairs and didn’t notice and found her when he came back.”
Madsen’s latest claim, Hansen told reporters, will be followed up with further forensic investigation. “Now we have to talk to people who know the submarine to see if it’s a possibility,” he said. Also today, officials announced that Madsen’s trial date has been set for a block of eight days in March and April of next year.
In Madsen’s last court hearing, prosecutors revealed that they had found videos of women being tortured and decapitated on a hard drive of a computer at Madsen’s RML Spacelab. Madsen denied the videos were his.