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Madsen napped in sub – as Kim Wall lay dead

Inventor Peter Madsen is suspected of causing Kim Wall's death. Foto: BAX LINDHARDT / EPA / TT / EPA TT NYHETSBYRÅN
The missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall is feared dead. Foto: TOM WALL /TT NYHETSBYRÅN
One of the last pictures of Kim Wall before she disappeared. Foto: LÄSARBILD / LÄSARBILD

New details have emerged surrounding the death of Kim Wall, the Swedish journalist whose body was found floating in the Copenhagen harbour last month after she went missing during a reporting trip aboard a homemade submarine. 

The inventor Peter Madsen claimed in court Tuesday that Kim Wall died after she was accidentally slammed over the head with a massive iron hatch. 

After Madsen found Wall bleeding and lifeless on the sub floor he went to take a nap – still submerged in the water. 

Tuesday's court hearing in the Kim Wall case was the first to be conducted in public.

Peter Madsen, a 46-year-old Danish inventor who is known in his homeland as "Rocket Madsen", was heard telling his version of what happened on the night of August 10.

That's the night when Kim Wall, an accomplished reporter whose work has appeared in international publications including The New York Times and The Guardian, went missing after waving goodbye to her friends by the dock.  

Prosectuor Jakob Buch-Jepsen outside court in Copenhagen Foto: JOHAN NILSSON/TT / TT NYHETSBYRÅN

Madsen and Wall went underwater inside the Dane's homemade sub. Only Madsen surfaced alive. Kim Wall's dismembered body was later found floating in the harbour. 

Madsen claimed in court that Wall died after being accidentally slammed over the head with a massive iron hatch, and said that he found her on the floor below, bleeding profusely and lacking a pulse. 

After making the discovery Madsen said he took a nap in a different part of the submarine, leaving Wall's lifeless body two doors away inside the submerged vessel. 

Madsen denies dismembering Wall

Later, according to prosectuors, he allegedly dismembered the body and tried to sink it by tying it to some pipes. 

Madsen denies dismembering Kim Wall's body but admits to dumping it at sea, and says he deliberately sunk the submarine before escaping. 

– The world I exist in, it disappears when a deadly accident happens aboard Nautilus, Madsen said, referring to his submarine. 

After being rescued at sea from his sinking vessel, where some of Kim Wall's blood and hair was later discovered by police, he initially told investigators that he dropped her off safely the previous night.

Lied to police in order to say goodbye to wife

That lie he told in order to buy some time before police would discover Kim Wall was dead, he said. 

– I knew all this would come out and I wanted so badly to have five minutes to say goodbye to my wife, Madsen explained in court. 

The court decided Madsen will continue to be held in jail, suspected of causing Kim Wall's death. He will undergo a forced psychiatric examination. 

Prosecutors said Madsen has not been forthcoming in letting investigators look into his computer. It was decided police will go through the computer anyway, despite Madsen's protests that it contains "business secrets". 

He admitted in court to throwing his cellphone in the water after the death of Kim Wall – because, he said, he no longer had any need for it. However, he denied dumping Kim Wall's phone. Neither phone has been recovered. 

Kim Wall's impressive CV 

The case of the missing journalist has been covered extensively in Swedish and Danish media, as well as by international news outlets.

Kim Wall is a journalist with an impressive CV, which includes bylines in the Times, Guardian, TIME, Vice, Foreign Policy, and Harper's Magazine. Her friends and colleagues have described her as a driven and ambitious journalist who tends to seek out unusual stories.

– When I saw the story on the news I felt it was the kind of story Kim would do. I wasn't surprised it was she that had been on the submarine, said Ye Ming, a New York-based photographer who has been working with Kim Wall on a separate story in recent months.

"She is filled with wanderlust" 

A Scottish reporter who studied with Kim Wall at Columbia University's journalism school, Christopher Harress, said he has long been an admirer of her work.

– As a journalist she is just so filled with wanderlust. Her stories are always well thought out and written in the best interest of the people they're about.

– She is just such a lovely person who people always want to be around.

Last month, Kim Wall's family wrote in a statment:

"It is with great dismay we, her family, received the news that Kim went missing during an assignment in Denmark. We believe and sincerely hope that she will be found in good health". The family added:

"Kim is intensely focused, ambitious and dedicated to her work. She writes extensively about social issues, foreign politics, pop culture and gender equality issues".