It’s one of the most gruesome murder cases Denmark — maybe even the world — has ever seen: journalist Kim Wall’s body found in pieces sprawled across an ocean bed.
Danish inventor Peter Madsen, who Wall was interviewing for a story about his homemade submarine in Copenhagen, was charged with her murder. Madsen has maintained his innocence since his arrest on Aug. 11, hours after Wall was reported missing.
“We found a bag with Kim Wall’s clothing; shirt, skirt, socks and shoes, and also a knife and lead pieces weighing them down,” Copenhagen police investigator Jens Moeller Jensen said at the time. “Around noon we found a leg, then another leg, and shortly thereafter we found a head, also in a bag weighted down by several metal pieces.”
Madsen, 47, pleaded not guilty in Wall’s death, maintaining that it was an accident. During his trial on March 8, he claimed she was inside the submarine and died of carbon monoxide poisoning while he was on deck. He admitted cutting her up before he “buried her at sea.”
“I don’t see how that mattered at that time, as she was dead,” he told the court, according to BBC News.
Madsen was charged with murder, dismemberment and indecent handling of a corpse. He was sentenced in April 2018 to life in prison.
Here’s a timeline of events that occurred since Wall stepped foot on Madsen’s sub.
April 25, 2018
Madsen is sentenced to life in prison for the murder and dismemberment of Wall. Madsen said he will appeal the murder conviction and life sentence.
April 23, 2018
A prosecutor details grisly parts of Wall’s death in the final day of Madsen’s trial, claiming the journalist may have been tied with her own stockings before Madsen “impaled her” in what he described as a sexual motive.
Madsen’s lawyer called it “a horror story … but the story is not based on facts. It is based on undocumented claims.”
The prosecutor is asking that Madsen be given life in prison — 16 years in Denmark, which could be extended if necessary. Meanwhile, Madsen’s attorney is asking for 6 months in prison for cutting up Wall’s body.
March 21, 2018
After a two-week hiatus, Madsen’s murder trial resumes.
Madsen, who is accused of either cutting Kim Wall’s throat or strangling her on his submarine, took the stand at the Copenhagen City Court.
Again, Madsen denied killing Wall, asserting to prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen he’s “never been violent to any human being — and no dead human being either.”
Madsen eventually admitted to stabbing Wall after prosecutors revealed multiple stab wounds were found on the recovered body parts. The inventor said he used a sharpened screwdriver to stab the body, insisting they were only done to make sure the parts would sink.
“I put some punctures in the body parts because I didn’t want them to be inflated by gases,” Madsen said, according to the Telegraph. “There is nothing sexual in the fact that the stab holes were in her vagina. I understand why you might think there was, but there was nothing sexual in it for me.”
Madsen said he stabbed her after taking her clothes off, beheading her and placing the head in a plastic bag.
“I wanted to make sure there were no traces in Nautilus, so yes. I am in a condition where I want this accident to go away,” Madsen said.
March 8, 2018
Madsen’s murder trial begins in Copenhagen City Court, where he faces two judges and two jurors.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen kicked off the 12-day trial by reading the charges against Madsen.
He detailed how Wall’s body parts were discovered. And said a psychiatric report concluded Madsen was intelligent “with psychopathic tendencies” who has “no empathy or feelings of guilt.”
Madsen himself later took the stand, once again denying that he murdered Wall, according to Sky News.
“What I will tell you today is a grim story that I did not want to tell anyone ever,” he said.
Jan. 16, 2018
Madsen is formally charged with murder, dismemberment and indecent handling of a corpse. He is also charged with having sexual relations with Wall of a “particularly dangerous nature.”
Nov. 29, 2017
Divers find Wall’s right arm in the sea south of the Danish capital.
Nov. 22, 2017
Divers find Wall’s left arm in the sea.
Oct. 7, 2017
Police say they have found a head, two legs and clothes in plastic bags a day earlier. Dental records help identify Wall.
Oct. 4, 2017
Police say they found 15 stab wounds on Wall’s torso. They also find videos of women being tortured, decapitated and killed on Madsen’s computer. The videos are not produced by Madsen.
Oct. 3, 2017
A prosecutor says in court that Madsen had a computer containing video of the torture and killing of women.
“We think it’s video recordings of true killing of women,” Buch-Jepsen said, according to a translation in The Ekstra Bladet newspaper, adding some of the videos containing killings done by “decapitation and burning.”
A judge later ruled Madsen will continue to sit behind bars until Oct. 31 as police continue to investigate Wall’s death.
Sept. 5, 2017
Madsen claims at a pre-trial hearing that Wall was hit in the head by a 155-pound hatch on the submarine and died from an open skull fracture. He later changes his story when Wall’s head is found with no skull fractures.
The court changes the charge against Madsen to manslaughter.
Aug. 25, 2017
Danish police file another charge against Madsen In addition to a preliminary manslaughter charge in Wall’s death, the inventor also faces a charge of indecent handling of a corpse, chief investigator Jens Moeller Jensen announces.
Aug. 23, 2017
Danish police say the headless torso that washed ashore matches the DNA of Wall.
Aug. 21, 2017
Wall’s naked, headless body is first spotted by a cyclist riding along Amager Island in Copenhagen, Wired reports.
Aug. 15, 2017
Swedish police assist Danish officials with their search for Wall.
Aug. 14, 2017
Danish investigators say the sinking of Welden’s submarine was a “deliberate act.”
Aug. 13, 2017
Madsen’s submarine is raised and put onto land in Copenhagen.
Aug. 12, 2017
Madsen appears in court for a pre-trial custody hearing. He said her death was an “accident,” explaining that a hatch knocked her in the head. He was ordered held for 24 days.
Aug. 11, 2017
Madsen is rescued by a private motorboat Friday morning in Denmark’s Koge Bay after his submarine sank. He tells police he dropped Wall off before the vessel went down, but she was later reported missing by her boyfriend, which raised suspicion.
Madsen is later detained on involuntary manslaughter charges by Danish police in Wall’s death.
Aug. 10, 2017
Wall skipped her own goodbye party — a celebration of her and her boyfriend, Ole Stobbe’s move to Beijing — to meet Madsen aboard his 55-foot UC3 Nautilus submarine with plans to interview him for a story.
Wall texted Stobbe a picture of herself, possibly the last one ever taken, smiling aboard the sub and standing alongside Madsen, whose back is turned.
Travis Fedschun, Katherine Lam, Kaitlyn Schallhorn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.