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“I feel her spirit”: what has changed in the case of the murder of a journalist on a submarine “Nautilus”

The court is preparing to make a verdict to the main suspect Peter Madsen, the parents of the deceased established a memorial fund, and the submarine decided to flood.

Peter Madsen. Reuters photo
Peter Madsen. Reuters photo

In August 2017, a self-made submarine “Nautilus” left the port of Copenhagen. On board were the Swedish journalist Kim Vall, who was preparing a report about the ship, and the inventor of the submarine Peter Madsen. The next day, rescuers discovered a sinking submarine and managed to save its creator. There were no journalists on board – her dismembered body was found a few days later on the beach. The only suspect was Madsen, who was considered an outstanding inventor in Denmark.

Almost a year after the tragedy, the investigation is coming to an end – on April 25 the court will issue a verdict on the future fate of Madsen. In total, 36 witnesses, mostly acquaintances, friends and partners of the defendant, who are accused of murder due to sexual fantasies, participated in the trial.

Collection of evidence and number of witnesses

The trial of the death of Kim Vall, which allegedly occurred on the night of August 11, 2017, began on March 8, 2018. Such a temporary gap is connected with the work of the investigation – the police studied the submarine, interviewed the witnesses, checked the company of Peter Madsen and examined the remains of the deceased journalist’s body.

On April 4, the court heard all the witnesses in the case, including four women, whom Madsen had previously invited to travel with him on a submarine. In addition, the sexual partners of the inventor, former friends, colleagues and employees of his company for the construction of spacecraft RML Spacelab ApS testified at the trial. A total of 36 witnesses recorded the case.

Prosecution Party

Madsen invited to the submarine at least three girls, one of them – on August 8, a couple of days before the death of a Swedish journalist. The inventor sent a friend a message with an invitation to go on a trip to the Nautilus, but she refused, finding it strange. Madsen’s former sexual partners (all of them women) said that they never noticed aggressive behavior towards them in their direction.

A month before Vall’s death, one of the witnesses corresponded with Madsen and discussed how they would link their acquaintance on the submarine and do something “perverted.” The inventor also suggested to the interlocutor to remove snaff-movi (a film with real murders or suicides) and wrote that “it would pierce it with a screwdriver”. Both girls counted this as a joke.

On the “Nautilus” found belts, which, according to the investigation, Madsen linked the journalist (she found the right foot on the body). In a bag with things Vall, discovered under the water, also lay scraps of belts and clothes of a journalist, including underwear. In addition, a pointed screwdriver was found on the submarine, and a saw was found under the water, not far from the place where the Nautilus passed .

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen (Jakob Buch-Jepsen) gives an interview on the case of the murder of Kim Vall in the courthouse. Photos of TT
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen (Jakob Buch-Jepsen) gives an interview on the case of the murder of Kim Vall in the courthouse. Photos of TT

The prosecution alleges that for the torture and murder of Kim Vall Madsen has brought in advance the submarine tools, including a saw and screwdriver. The inventor claims that he kept the items in case of breakage. One of the witnesses confirmed that he had seen the tools before, but others said that they had never noticed them.

On the eve of the departure of the Nautilus, Peter Madsen was searching the Internet for ways to “decapitate the girls” (Vall’s head was separated from the body and found later) and watched a video where an unknown woman was cut to the throat. A couple of months before that, the inventor was already looking for and viewing similar content. In the early 2000s, the inventor was filmed in porn films and was a BDSM club, but he was expelled for “excessive passivity”.

In total, on the computer and partially recovered data from the mobile phone (the device sank with a submarine), Madsen discovered 140 videos and links leading to records of torture and murder.

The inventor said that the hard drive on the computer does not belong to him, but on the snuff-movie he came across by accident when he was searching the horror films on the Internet.

According to psychologists, Madsen recalls the dismemberment of the body of Vall without emotions and is completely indifferent to her and to her family. In the report, experts call the Dane “extremely unreliable” and “pathological liar.” “A dead body does not deserve any special respect,” Madsen told psychologists when asked about the fate of Vall’s remains.

The investigation believes that Madsen tortured and killed the journalist to satisfy his sexual sadistic fantasies, and then separated the parts of her body from the trunk to conceal the crime. To do this, he used a saw and screwdriver, previously tied the victim straps.

The police failed to determine the cause of Wall’s death. The skull of the girl is not damaged, but on the body they found stab wounds, 14 of them are located in the groin area. According to the coroner, the girl’s airways were partially or completely blocked – on the basis of this the investigation believes that the defendant either strangled Vall or cut her throat.

Protection side

Madsen’s testimony about what happened has changed since the loss of Vall. At the first interrogation, he stated that he had landed a journalist on the coast of Copenhagen after three hours of sailing and went on. A few days later, the inventor said that during the journey, Vall was the victim of an accident – she allegedly was hit by a 70-kilogram hatch on the head , and she died. After this, the inventor decided to “bury” the body in the sea.

At the trial, Madsen expressed a third version of what happened – when Vall was inside the submarine, there the pressure dropped sharply, which led to the release of carbon monoxide. The inventor claims that he did not suffer because he was standing on the deck, and when he tried to enter the girl, she was already dead. For some time, the captain tried to lift Vall’s body, and then decided to dismember it and throw it into the water.

According to Madsen, he went to dismemberment for the sake of “protecting the journalist’s family”. When asked why the inventor changed his testimony again, he explained that he decided to stick to the fictitious version until “the police find evidence of a real history of the incident.”

Betina Hald Engmark, lawyer of Peter Madsen. Getty Photos

About 20 minutes after getting rid of the body, Madsen sent his “farewell” SMS message to his wife, intending to commit suicide. “On a trip to the Nautilus.” I feel good. I swim in the moonlight across the bay. Do not submerge. Embrace and kiss the cats, “the letter said. Having sent it, the inventor changed his mind about taking the counts with life, wanting to see his wife again.

At the trial, the Danish engineer and thermodynamics specialist Kim Winther admitted that Wall could really suffocate with carbon monoxide, according to Madsen. However, at such an outcome, the room where the girl was closed was heated to 150 ° C within 10 minutes, but no traces of burns were found on the body of the deceased.

The investigative specialist also did not record in the pipes and filters of the submarine signs of toxin secretion, but the defense side believes that the expert simply does not understand the work of amateur submarines. Earlier, Madsen discussed the problem with the pressure on the submarine with a colleague.

According to the defense, the police did not determine the motive for the murder and the reason for the death of the journalist. The inventor himself denies that he watched the snuff-movi with violence against women in order to satisfy sexual fantasies. “It’s about strong emotions. I watch these videos to cry and experience feelings, “- explained the inventor.

New facts from the biography of Wall and Madsen

A month before the Nautilus process began, a close friend of the deceased journalist Mei Jong wrote an article in the journal Wired. In it, she revealed new details of the life of Kim Vall and Peter Madsen, who was considered a talented and purposeful inventor in Denmark.

Madsen was born in 1971 in a small town south of Copenhagen. He had three stepbrothers, but when Madsen was six years old, the mother took the remaining children and left him with her father-owner of the pub. He instilled in his son interest in rocket science, and after the death of his father, the 18-year-old youth continued to study engineering and experimented with dangerous fuel, for which he was expelled from the club of rocket science lovers. He also tried to finish four universities, but failed exams. From the age of 20 to 40, Madsen devoted almost all his free time to rocket engineering and engineering, sometimes falling asleep in the workplace.

The 47-year-old inventor built the Nautilus in 2008 thanks to a small donation of necessary spare parts. Soon Madsen with a friend and former NASA employee Christian von Bengtson founded the company Copenhagen Suborbitals, whose goal was the construction and launch of a space rocket controlled by man. In 2009 and 2016, two documentaries were released about the Danish captain of the submarine, due to which he became a local star. In 2014, he left the company, having quarreled with Bengtson, and founded the engineering firm RML Spacelab ApS.

Peter Madsen next to the Nautilus, May 31, 2017. Getty Photos

Working employment did not prevent Madsen from earning popularity among women. The acquaintances of the inventor told that the main man’s passion – the creation of submarines and rockets – made an impression on the girls. Thus friends often noticed for the inventor sharp changes of mood with fury on serenity. Sometimes RML Spacelab ApS employees avoided Madsen, fearing that in a fit of anger, he would start throwing objects at them.

In March 2017, 30-year-old Swedish journalist Kim Vall was the first to learn about Danish missile builders. For four years as a reporter, she visited Haiti, where she wrote about shamanism and voodoo, in Sri Lanka, covering tourism in the once hot spots of civil war, and in Cuba – she studied the underground network selling foreign shows to citizens of the country.

Kim Vall in Haiti. Photo of Caterina Clerici

The girl met with the designer from Denmark Ole Stobbe. After meeting Madsen, the reporter tried for a long time to come to an agreement with him about the meeting, but the plans were constantly postponed. The girl no longer hoped for an interview, but on the eve of her move with Stobbe to Beijing, where they were going to start a joint life, the Danish inventor invited the journalist to meet. She agreed.

An hour and a half later, Wall warned the young man about plans to ride on the Madsen submarine and invited him to go with her. Stobbe wanted, but he was uncomfortable before the guests, who were invited to a farewell party in honor of the move, and he stayed. At sunset, standing on the embankment, Stobbe saw in the distance “Nautilus” – from there looked Vall and waved.

On the morning of the next day, rescuers evacuated Madsen after the sinking of the Nautilus. Between questions of policemen to the inventor the reporter has approached and has asked, whether all with it by way of. In response, the Dane raised his thumb up, but complained that his submarine was drowned.

At the end of 2017, a friend of the deceased journalist Mei Jong sent three notes to Madsen, describing her feelings about the loss of her friend and asking the inventor to tell the truth. On December 6, she received three letters in which the main suspect complained of a boring life in prison and said that he had looked at Terminator 2. He acknowledged that he thinks about Vall every day, and somehow “feels her spirit”.

What happens to the relatives and friends of the participants in the process

After the death of the lover Ole Stobbe still intends to leave for China. Moving well will affect his condition, believes the Dane. March 24, 2018 in New York was a ceremony in memory of Kim Vall. Parents and about a hundred friends and acquaintances of the journalist together with the International Women’s Media Foundation have established the deceased’s award, which will be presented annually to outstanding journalists. As the media write , Vall’s parents will receive compensation of 150,000 kroons (about 1,160 million rubles).

Madsen’s colleagues promised to flood the submarine of the inventor, so that it would not become an exhibit in a tragic story. While the inventor is under investigation, his wife divorced him in absentia. Madsen argues that this is due to “economic reasons.” The woman refused to testify in court, referring to her state of health.

For Denmark, where 5.7 million people live, and on average about 50 people are killed annually , Kim Vall’s story has become one of the most troubled and frightening for many years. On April 23, the prosecution and defense will express their final speech. The judge will make a verdict in the case on April 25. If Madsen is found guilty, he faces up to 16 years in prison.

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