Peter Madsen Trial: Day 1 recap as submariner offers new explanation

The submariner has many psychopathic character traits, the court is told, but can the evidence convict him

So what did we learn on Day 1 of the trial of Peter Madsen, the 47-year-old submariner accused of murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall on the Nautilus last August?

Well, quite a lot actually. In an extremely busy first day, Madsen himself was on the stand for over two hours and the prosecution had the time to outline many elements of its case against him.

A new cause of death
First off, it would appear that Madsen has a new story. Several other explanations have been offered over the last six months – “I dropped her off at the harbour at 22:00”, the falling hatch, carbon monoxide poisoning etc – but this one is apparently the truth.

Madsen claims he concealed the truth out of respect to Wall’s relatives – the same family members who were asked to help identify her body parts after he dismembered them.

Madsen maintains Wall was killed in a “horrible accident” – a combination of exhaust gas and a fall in cabin pressure caused her a slow and painful death.

Madsen was on deck at the time, unable to open the hatch due to the pressure issue. He had left Wall in the hull while he attended to the engines and then climbed on deck. When he could finally enter, he discovered Wall’s lifeless body.

He then further explained how he tried to discard Wall’s intact body, but decided to give up after 50 minutes, eventually deciding to cut her up into six pieces.

So not premeditated?
The prosecutor intends to demonstrate that Madsen asked three different women to join him on the Nautilus in the week leading up to Wall’s death during the night of August 10-11.

The prosecutor will demonstrate that Wall and Madsen arranged to meet on the very day she died, as Madsen suddenly had a window in his schedule due to a cancellation.

Madsen sent a SMS to Wall on August 10 to say he was free. She then called him back at 16:38. Their last and only contact before this was in March and April when Wall first proposed an interview to him. They had therefore never met before.

The prosecutor also has video evidence that the same saw Madsen used to dismember Wall’s body was hanging in his laboratory just hours before they set sail – why did he therefore move it to the submarine, they will ask.

Madsen’s sexual inclinations
Part of the prosecution’s case will relate to horrific videos that Madsen has viewed online. Just one evening before he set sail with Wall, he watched a video of a woman’s throat being cut. The evidence was recovered from his iPhone profile, as his phone has never been recovered.

Additionally, the prosecution will claim Madsen liked restraining women. Blue and orange nylon strap strands found in the submarine, and also at the bottom of Køge Bay in a bag with Wall’s clothes, match marks found on Wall’s body parts, they claim, suggesting she was restrained.

Additionally, damage sustained by Wall’s head reveals it might have been clamped.

Sex never on the agenda
Peter Madsen showed irritation towards the end of his cross-examination from prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen that he subjected Wall to sexual abuse.

Madsen maintains there was no sexual activity on the Nautilus. Wall was first and foremost a journalist in his eyes, not a woman.

Madsen made a number of references to what has been written in the media about the case, rejecting most of the claims about his sexual preferences and activities as fantasy.

When asked about semen stains in his underpants, Madsen said: “It’s not strange given I am such a promiscuous person.”

Psychopathic tendencies
Psychological evaluations of Madsen portray a complex personality. By no means a textbook psychopath, the evaluators found, he has many traits.

He is found to be “highly untrustworthy”, superficially charming, emotionally impaired, a manipulator and seriously lacking in empathy or sense of guilt.

The prosecutor will argue that he is a danger to others, and that should he be found guilty of a reduced charge such as manslaughter, it is recommended that he is given the maximum custodial sentence.

Psychological evaluations also describe Madsen as a “polymorphic pervert” and “very sexually different”.

Pitfalls ahead
The biggest problem facing the prosecution team is that they do not know how Wall died.

According to Madsen’s lawyer Betina Engmark, the prosecution must provide evidence of how she was killed.

The prosecutor will use 29 witnesses to prove it case, and the defence just eight.

The case will next resume on Wednesday March 22 and continue for eight working days until March 30.




  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.