Danish police find severed head of Swedish journalist Kim Wall

Richard Orange
- REUTERS

Police divers in Denmark have found the severed head and legs of Kim Wall, the Swedish journalist who died on board the home-built submarine of Danish artist-inventor Peter Madsen.

Jens Møller Jensen, the chief investigator in the case, told journalists on Saturday that the head showed no signs of serious injury, contradicting Mr Madsen’s claims last month that Wall died after a heavy hatch fell onto her head.

“There are no signs of fractures to the skull, or signs of blows from a blunt instrument,” he said. “There are several minor injuries which I will not go into.”

Mr Madsen, 46, who is being held on suspicion of murder, told a court last month that he had entered a “suicidal psychosis” following the accident, and then “buried” Wall at sea.

The 30-year-old journalist, who had written for Vice Magazine, the Guardian, and the New York Times, joined Mr Madsen on board UC3 Nautilus on the evening of August 10, planning to write an article on him. 

Her boyfriend raised the alarm early the next day when she failed to return home.

Mr Møller Jensen said that police divers recovered a bag containing Wall's clothes in the waters off Avedøre Holme, an industrial area south of Copenhagen.

Danish submarine owner and inventor Peter Madsen Credit: EPA

The discovery was made about 1km (0.6 miles) from the spot where police dogs on loan from Sweden had signalled the presence of human remains. 

The bag contained a knife and metal tools seemingly intended to weigh it down. Shortly afterwards, divers found a leg, an hour later another leg. Finally, they discovered Wall’s head, which had been placed in a bag weighed down with heavy pieces of metal.

The head was confirmed as Wall's on Friday night through forensic dental analysis. 

"We are pleased that her head and legs have now been found, both for the purposes of the investigation, and from an ethical perspective,” Mr Møller Jensen said.  

Police technicians on board the home-made submarine UC3 Nautilus on a pier in Copenhagen harbour Credit: AP

“I hope we can also find her arms so that Kim Wall’s family can bring a whole body home to bury.”

Wall’s family were informed of the find on Friday evening. A website, Remembering Kim Wall, has been set up to commemorate her life.

Mr Madsen’s defence lawyer Betina Hald Engmark told the Ekstra Bladet newspaper on Saturday that she had informed her client of the discovery, but was not willing to comment on its significance.

“I’ve been informed about the discovery, but I have not yet received any material or documents,” she told the newspaper. “The case and any evidence must be judged by a court when the time comes.”

Mr Madsen scuttled his submarine close to the Drogden Lighthouse in Køge Bay on August 11, and was rescued shortly before it sunk below the water.

He initially claimed that he had dropped Wall off back on dry land but afterwards admitted that he had disposed of her body after she died on board.

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen, on Wednesday revealed in court that police had found 15 stab wounds on Wall's torso, 14 of which were found around her genitals. They also found videos shot of real life murders of women on the hard drive of his computer. 

Mr Madsen is due to appear in court again on October 31.

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