Murder of Kim Wall
|Date||10 or 11 August 2017|
Indecent handling of a corpse
|Trial||8 March – 25 April 2018|
The murder of Kim Wall, also referred to in Denmark as Ubådssagen (lit. The submarine case), took place during the night of 10–11 August 2017 in Køge Bay. Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist, was killed on board entrepreneur Peter Madsen's midget submarine UC3 Nautilus. On 25 April 2018, Madsen was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by Copenhagen City Court.
Kim Isabel Fredrika Wall|
23 March 1987
Trelleborg, Scania, Sweden
10 or 11 August 2017 (aged 30)|
|Cause of death||Unknown|
London School of Economics|
Kim Isabel Fredrika Wall (23 March 1987 – 10 or 11 August 2017) was a Swedish freelance journalist. She was born in Trelleborg, Scania, to Ingrid and Joachim Wall, and had a younger brother, Tom. 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. She wrote reports about a variety of topics for publications such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Vice, Slate, and Time. 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. At the time of her death, Wall lived with her Danish boyfriend Ole Stobbe in Refshaleøen, Copenhagen.
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. Shortly 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). The submarine failed to return to the harbour and Stobbe called the police at 01:43 on Friday to report Wall missing. The submarine was sighted in Køge Bay just southeast of Amager by Drogden lighthouse at 10:30; it foundered at 11:00.
On 21 August 2017, a cyclist found Wall's torso washed up on a beach in the southwest of Amager. A post-mortem examination found 15 stab wounds, mostly in the groin. On 6 October, assisted by police dogs, police divers found two plastic bags in Køge Bay containing Wall's head, legs, clothes and a knife; six days later, a saw was found in the water. On 21 and 29 November, police divers found Wall's arms in the bay. 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.
Madsen was arrested immediately after 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. He initially stated that he had dropped Wall off on land, but then admitted to dumping her body at sea after she died in what he claimed was an accident on board the submarine. He testified in a court hearing on 5 September that Wall died after being struck on the head by the submarine's hatch cover. The prosecution said that police had found videos on Madsen's computer showing women being murdered, and that witnesses said that they had seen Madsen watching videos of decapitation and practising asphyxiation sex. 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 and did not determine the cause of death. 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. The post-mortem performed on Wall's torso showed no signs of exhaust gases in her lungs.
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. His trial began on 8 March at Copenhagen Court House. On 25 April, he was convicted of all three charges and sentenced to life imprisonment. Madsen is to appeal his sentence at Østre Landsret in late 2018.
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. 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. In October 2017, Wall was posthumously nominated for Prix Europa's Outstanding Achievement Award "Journalist of the Year".
In August 2018, Madsen was admitted to hospital after being attacked in prison by another inmate.
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