back to article Private sub captain changes story, now says reporter died, was 'buried at sea' – torso found

The story of a Danish inventor and a missing Swedish journalist has taken a bizarre turn, as Peter Madsen now claims he buried Kim Wall at sea. Madsen, being held on manslaughter charges, told a Copenhagen court Monday that the reporter perished when the 26-foot-long UC3 Nautilus submarine, one of the only privately funded …

  1. gecho

    Burial at sea on a 3 hour tour? A 3 hour tour!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is 3 hours enough to kill and dismember a body? It sounds like things escalated very, very quickly.

    2. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

      The Gilligan's Island Theme

      +1 for that

    3. Brangdon

      I doubt it is the same woman. Without face, teeth or fingerprints the torso will need to be identified from DNA, which will take time and hasn't happened yet. It could be some other crime. I doubt submarine guy would have had time or inclination to dismember, and it kinda blows away his "buried at sea" story. I mean, why use a story that will be disproved as soon as the body is found?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        I imagine the police said, "we found a body and it is being identified, cough now and you get a lesser sentence, cough later and we nail you for more" It is true they found a body and they didn't have to say they found a dismembered body.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In this episode of "Dead Calm"

          The good ship will be rechristened the "Reiser Subsystem" soon!

      2. deconstructionist

        you're dead wrong

        it has been confirmed the body is that of the missing journalist.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: you're dead wrong

          yeah seems so. thats a lot of dismembering in 3 hours. they found blood on the walls of the sub too.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Generous police

    It's good that police not be too heavy handed, but a body without arms, legs, and head and the suspicion is manslaughter?

    Ooh sorry officer, I panicked and butchered the poor lady...

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Generous police

      As Chanel 9 would put it: Sminky pinky accidento bizarro.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What happened to the many CEOs he had waiting?

      He was charged with manslaughter over a week ago, when Wall was missing and before any body had even been found. I would guess the charges could be changed if the torso is identified as Wall.

    3. smudge Silver badge

      Re: Generous police

      Ooh sorry officer, I panicked and butchered the poor lady...

      I'd have thought that there would be blood all over the sub - and him - if that's what had happened.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Generous police

        "I'd have thought that there would be blood all over the sub - and him - if that's what had happened."

        If only there was a quick way of washing the entire submarine, inside and out...

        1. smudge Silver badge

          Re: Generous police

          If only there was a quick way of washing the entire submarine, inside and out...

          I knew someone would say that. IANA forensic scientist, but I'd be surprised if a short sinking would remove all traces from him and from the sub - even if the sub had completely filled with water.

          1. Gazareth

            Re: Generous police

            Remove all traces - probably not. But it would contaminate/dilute pretty much all available evidence to the point where it's useless.

            And of course, it's probably impossible to prove that any evidence found was on board prior to the sinking.

            1. Gazareth

              Re: Generous police

              Yep, seems they did find blood matching Ms Wall's on the sub, so ignore my amateur level forensics.

              This case has gone from weird to pretty nasty, got to feel for her friends & family.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Generous police

            Quick back of the envelope swag. Given a 2 meter diameter sub at 17 meters long is about 50 cubic meters let's say half of that is usable on the interior so on sinking it takes on board 25 cubic meters of seawater and lets say an adult human holds about 5 liters of blood. If all the blood was entirely inside the sub and if filled with water on sinking makes dilution on the order of 1 part in 5000 which would leave somewhere on the order of 1 ml left to find after it was drained.

            Is anyone else bothered that the size of the sub seems to change with each story? I'll stick with Wikipedias numbers of 17.76 meters long with 2 meter beam.

        2. deconstructionist

          Re: Generous police

          Sub has been recovered and blood stains and other evidence has been found inside, so much for a salt water cover up , he blew that too.

    4. Jon 37

      Re: Generous police

      Manslaughter is enough to keep him in prison while they investigate. He's admitted she died in an "accident" on board. The "burial at sea", sinking, and lying / change-of-story are certainly suspicious and at minimum the police can say they suspect the accident was his fault. That's enough to charge him with manslaughter and hold him for a bit (perhaps until trial), and it'd be very hard for him to contest that given what he's already said.

      If/when they get evidence of other crimes then they can charge him with those, but there's no rush. (E.g. they might suspect him of murder, hiding a body, and attempting to frustrate the investigation by deliberately sinking his submarine).

    5. PNGuinn Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Generous police

      Cut the Danish cops some slack.

      After all, they've got a soggy sub cluttering up an evidence store room somewhere. Must be making life a bit cramped for someone.

  3. Big John Silver badge

    Personally I would never get into a private submarine. I've read too many historical accounts of what can happen to them. But none of those accounts mentioned torso killers!

    1. J__M__M

      Personally

      I would never get in any submarine. Ever. Screw that.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Personally

        I know right! As bad as those new fangled Iron Horses!!!! I hear they shake your body to pieces!!!!!

      2. usbac

        Re: Personally

        I've been in several private submarines. Atlantis Submarines operate tours in several tropical areas. Granted they are corporate owned, but they are not "publicly", as in government owned.

        I highly recommend taking a tour in one. I can't dive due to some medical reasons, so it makes for a very fun way to see the underwater world.

    2. Drew V.

      > Personally I would never get into a private submarine.

      Me neither.

      Before crowdfunding, we used to have another term for "risky crowdfunded projects". I believe we used to call them "public funding which require public oversight". (The taxpayers are also a kind of "crowd", after all).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just sub armless fun

    surely?

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Just sub armless fun

      That's going out on a limb...

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Just sub armless fun

        Frankly, the whole thing smells fishy.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Just sub armless fun

          torso was used as an emergency flotation device?

          1. MrDamage

            Re: Just sub armless fun

            You're confusing Kim with Bob.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              You're confusing Kim with Bob.

              They had a child you know. It was a buoy.

              1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                Re: You're confusing Kim with Bob.

                Somewhere out there there's a grieving family and friends. Just saying...

                1. sabroni Silver badge

                  Re: Somewhere out there there's a grieving family and friends

                  If they're searching internet comment boards looking for solace they're wasting their time.....

                2. wolfetone Silver badge

                  Re: You're confusing Kim with Bob.

                  "Somewhere out there there's a grieving family and friends. Just saying..."

                  Well, you're actually typing.

                3. IsJustabloke Silver badge
                  Meh

                  Re: You're confusing Kim with Bob.

                  "Somewhere out there there's a grieving family and friends. Just saying..."

                  #virtuesignalling

                  Just saying...

                  1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

                    Re: You're confusing Kim with Bob.

                    I find as a rule, people accusing others of (hashtag) virtuesignalling tend to be largely defending their own right to be a complete prick. I do hope that's not the case with you, IsJustABloke?

                    1. werdsmith Silver badge

                      Re: You're confusing Kim with Bob.

                      people accusing others of (hashtag) virtuesignalling tend to be largely defending their own right to be a complete prick.

                      Or so the virtue signallers keep telling themselves.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      I find that people accusing others of being a <obscenity> are usually obfuscating the truth.

                      Virtue signallers can often be disingenuous (it looks foremost like a PR exercise), or they haven't considered the wider negative effect on others of their apparent act of virtue.

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    #virtuesignalling

                    It's only a bit of armless fun.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just sub armless fun

      You'll get ballasted for that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

    Sub-editors immerse themselves in punny 'head'-lines

  6. DougS Silver badge

    You can't change your story like that

    If anything screams "GUILTY!" to me it is a guy who first says he dropped the reporter off and then changes his story to say that the reporter died (somehow?) and so he did what literally no one would do in that circumstance and buried him at sea and lied about it.

    He's going to need one hell of a defense lawyer to avoid spending the rest of his life in jail.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: You can't change your story like that

      One gets the feeling the police have had some hunch from the beginning that his original story didn't ring true.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can't change your story like that

      Indeed. It looks like it's not just the prosecution that doesn't have a leg to stand on.

    3. Swiss Anton

      Re: You can't change your story like that

      I doubt that he would serve more than ten years in jail, even if found guilty of murder. Its Denmark, not the USA(*). And as for needing "a hell of a defense lawyer", nope, all a lawyer needs to do is make the case that the suspect was not of sound mind at the time of the incident. Dismembering a body and throwing it into the sea doesn't sound like the actions of a sane person.

      * I'm guessing you might be an American given your spelling of defence.

      1. fajensen Silver badge

        Re: You can't change your story like that

        all a lawyer needs to do is make the case that the suspect was not of sound mind at the time of the incident.

        ... The risk here being that the prosecution may take the same tack to prove that the suspect is not of a sound mind at the best of times and in fact has a dangerous personality disorder, in which case he gets "Detention until cured": Minimum 5 years, psychiatric evaluation every 2 years, no parole possible.

        This sentence may be longer than the usual 10-16 years in the slammer for a "normal murderer".

        1. Swiss Anton

          Re: You can't change your story like that

          "Detention until cured":

          Psychotic illnesses can be successfully treated. In such cases, whilst there may not be a cure, there is no need for permanent incarceration; just some proper supervision to ensure that the meds are being taken

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can't change your story like that

      It's Denmark, one really have to go to excesses to get more than about 16 years here.

      He might pull a "forvaringsdom", where the court decides, "not crazy but not exactly normal either and a persistent danger to others", that means incarceration until the person is deemed to no longer be a risk to others. *That* can be a long time.

      I think about two people got actual "life". Palle Sorensen who shot 4 unarmed police officers, was released after 33 years and a cancer diagnosis, Naum Conevski. who neck-shot two teenagers is still inside where he belongs (33 years, still waiting for the cancer to work on the problem).

      http://www.fyens.dk/indland/Klumme-Livstid-kan-godt-betyde-livstid-i-Danmark-heldigvis/artikel/3148934

    5. teebie

      Re: You can't change your story like that

      If you had let someone die through negligence, you might lie and try to cover it up then, when accused of murder come clean(ish, call it a burial, not a body dump).

      I...I may be one hell of a lawyer.

      (I don't believe my story for a second)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: You can't change your story like that

        Well that much is obvious. Even for a lawyer it is quite difficult to show that your client was confused:

        "Dropped her off in port?" "No sorry I meant dropped her overboard at sea after she died".

  7. Mycho Silver badge

    Whatever the truth is...

    It will be bizarre as all hell.

    I can think of several potential explanations, none of them make sense and that includes the cold blooded murder scenarios.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Whatever the truth is...

      I believe the truth is not bizarre at all, even if it includes a private submarine. It is not the first case of women killed on a boat and their bodies dumped to sea. And the reasons are usually plain old ones.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Whatever the truth is...

        Excessive bitching?

  8. 0laf Silver badge
    Pirate

    Does it have a torpedo tube? Did the journo 'accidentally' fall in and kick the launch button with a flailing leg (attached or otherwise)?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My money is on it being Osama Bin Laden.

  10. Stuart21551

    Cut the crap, Peter - you are only making it worse.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Once the words "torso found" have featured in the story, exactly how much worse can it get?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mad inventor type with own sub that sinks, missing reporter, inventor's story changing by the day, headless and limbless torso pulled from the waters ... and we're meant to believe that "The Bridge/The Killing/Show me the money/etc" are fiction?

  12. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Occam's Razor

    The simplest explanation here doesn't involve some bizarre accident, 'burial at sea' somehow while the sub was already crippled, and then a changing story.

    The simplest explanation I can think of involves the age-old bad things that can happen when a man gets a woman alone in a place she can't escape from, and a fracas ensues, followed by a panicked disposal of a body and deliberate scuttling of the sub.

    Not that I'm saying that's what actually happened, its just the simplest sequence of events I can think of that fits the known facts. His (current) story may indeed by true, although if this is the case, he has done nothing to help himself by initially lying.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Occam's Razor

      Something that happens pretty much every day somewhere in the world. The only thing different here is the submarine.

      Commentards have joked and said their puns are only harmless fun and stop virtue signalling. So if the dead person was a ten year old boy? Would it be as funny? I agree with loyal commentator that the simplest explanation is that a woman was trapped, knew the fear of death, was finally murdered, and her body butchered, and perhaps my virtue is so achingly sensitive that I am not amused, but I'm not.

      1. John Mangan

        Re: Occam's Razor

        I'm going to risk the wrath of the commentards by replying to this.

        It shouldn't make any difference if the victim was a ten year old boy or a sixty year old man but it probably would. I think (hope) that most commentards do not find the details of what seems most likely to have occurred in any way amusing but humans do seem to try to dissociate from the horror of a thing by playing around the edges. And punning is probably the least aggressive of these approaches.

        I can understand people finding this to be harmless fun and I can understand those who think it isn't. I doubt that anyone would make the same jokes if it had been an acquaintance of theirs that suffered this appalling fate but in that case the tragedy is too close to disarm in this way.

        The untimely end of a human life, probably in conditions of fear and isolation, is not funny but language does help push the monster back into the cupboard.

      2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Occam's Razor

        "So if the dead person was a ten year old boy? Would it be as funny?"

        Funny or not, I suspect it might generate the same level of punnery. People write puns because the context invites it (e.g. 'bizarre'), not because it's socially appropriate. Therefore within certain extreme boundaries, pretty much anything will get punned.

        Humour also helps people process unpalatable news; hence why people often recount amusing recollections during a funeral eulogy.

        Oh, and you put some thought into it, but still - #virtuesignalling.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Occam's Razor

          Or she didn't like the look of his torpedo so he made her walk the plank instead.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Occam's Razor

          I've been there thanks.

          And denying other people their fun doesn't actually help or make it better. Best let them get on with it, at least some good happens.

          We don't need gladiators to shut everyone down on our behalf.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS!

    "one of the only privately funded crafts"

    It's 'the only' or 'one of the few'.

    This kind of thing makes my brain itch.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: FFS!

      I suspect that the intended meaning is "only funded privately", i.e. there are a number of craft which have been funded exclusively by private funds, and this is one of them.

      So...yes, this reads badly - a decent writer should have been able to arrange some words to make the phrase more meaningful.

    2. samzeman

      Re: FFS!

      It's fair to say something's only little or you only have a few of something, so why not say one of the only (few) crafts?

      It's like: One of the - only few in number - crafts. Except it's contracted because that's what the language did to it apparently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS!

        No!

        The 'only' means the sole, single, solitary 'one'. For a single sample of a small group then 'one of a few'.

        1. Solarflare
          Trollface

          Re: FFS!

          No!

          The 'only' means the sole, single, solitary 'one'. For a single sample of a small group then 'one of a few'.

          I think we are the only ones to agree on that...

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: FFS!

            I think Hans meant that Shaun meant "one of the financed-only-by-private-equity crafts"

            I.e. the "only" applies to the financing, not the number of crafts

            1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

              Re: Jamie Jones

              Yes, that's what I meant.

              I may have failed to explain myself clearly in a comment about stating things clearly. The irony of this is not lost on me.

          2. barbara.hudson
            Facepalm

            Re: FFS!

            And "one of the only" is what happens when people think "well, spell-check didn't flag it, so it must be okay."

            break - brake, rein - rain - reign, they're - there - their, these regularly turn up in professionally edited articles. I noticed the trend start in newspapers in the mid-80s. People began trusting their tools too much almost immediately, "because computer."

    3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: FFS!

      Weren't there some drugs gangs who built some subs to smuggle drugs into the USA? Would those count as privately financed....?

      1. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: FFS!

        I may be wrong, but I don't think any of them had the capability to fully submerge (required intake and exhaust to remain above the surface), which may be part of the the definition of "submarine".

    4. Jonathon Desmond

      Re: FFS!

      My brain itch comes from people using 'crafts' as the plural of 'craft' in this context.

      The plural of craft (as in a transportation device such as a sailing vessel or aeroplane) is also craft - there is no 's'

      e.g.: 'On a Sunday, the busy waters of the Solent are packed with many craft such as pleasure vessels and sightseeing boats'

      Conversely, the plural of craft (when referring to handicraft or ability) *is* crafts.

      e.g.: 'He is skilled in the crafts of knitting and embroidery'

  14. Mycho Silver badge

    Something worth remembering

    Being dumped in the water for several days can dismember a body. It's odd for it to have successfully removed all the limbs, but it's not beyond the realms of possibility. I'm personally aware of one headless body being found who had died from natural causes and fallen into a stream. Incidentally, don't ever drink from mountain streams, you don't know what's polluting it half a mile upstream.

    1. Len Goddard

      Re: Something worth remembering

      Half mile? On one hill walk I could see someone drinking from a stream while a sheep pissed in it about 30 yards upstream.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Something worth remembering

        Extra fresh

      2. DJ Smiley

        Re: Something worth remembering

        My old college lecturer used to like reminding us how this happened to him, he saw people drinking from a stream, half hour walk up the stream, and there was a pile of dead rotting sheep in it...

        1. PNGuinn Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Something worth remembering

          "My old college lecturer used to like reminding us how this happened to him, he saw people drinking from a stream, half hour walk up the stream, and there was a pile of dead rotting sheep in it..."

          For a fast running mountain stream, 1/2 mile of well oxygenated water, probably perfectly ok as far as the pile of dead sheep go. Maybe not so for liver flukes nor human sewage from the nearest tributary aka the local farmer's septic tank.

          Never drink from one of those lovely little streams which issue from a Cornish* cliff. Now you know the likely source.

          * Cliffs are available elsewhere - you don't need to go all the way to the south west to get sick.

          You can find a sorts of nasties under a bridge. So I'm told. >>

      3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Something worth remembering

        "Half mile? On one hill walk I could see someone drinking from a stream while a sheep pissed in it about 30 yards upstream."

        Rule 34, probably.

    2. fajensen Silver badge

      Re: Something worth remembering

      That is why we have Tea. PG-tips will cloak any rotting thing, maybe even also the seepage from used tires and fried transformers!

      1. TheElder

        Re: Something worth remembering

        We have something here known as beaver fever (Giardiasis). They are nearly invisible parasites that inhabit what looks like perfectly clean water in lakes and streams. I always use a Zeolite water filter. Giardiasis can make you very ill.

        When symptoms occur they may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Vomiting, blood in the stool, and fever are less common.

        1. Mycho Silver badge

          Re: Something worth remembering

          Not to mention that if you do find a perfectly clear stream with nothing nasty looking growing or living in it, your first consideration ought to be whether that's because it contains pesticides.

  15. Eguro

    Just a note. According to the courts he originally told the courts that she had died and he had buried her at sea, but due to closed doors that information was not revealed.

    About a week later it was decided to release this information partly to end any discussions of searching for her, and what could have happened.

    So he might initially (when he was pulled from the boat) have given one story, but - as far as I know - he has maintained the now-revealed version of events from the very first day in court - that is last Saturday.

    http://www.dr.dk/nyheder/indland/retskorrespondent-peter-madsens-forklaring-skal-afmystificere-ubaadssagen (second to last section of this article)

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Telecide
    Coat

    I bet....

    there is some seamen involved......

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Newsnight report that goes overboard* on the Scandi noir camerawork.

    * fill in own inappropriate joke here.

  19. adam payne Silver badge

    A accident on board and he buried her at sea.

    I don't believe a word of it.

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      'A accident on board and he buried her at sea.'

      He could have accidentally brutally dismembered her...

  20. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Sounds about as reasonable as pulling the rugs and seats out of a brand-new car and hosing it out being a "normal" cleaning regime.

    1. earl grey Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Bah!

      What? You've never had to do that?

  21. JaitcH
    Unhappy

    What Sailor Has Ever Heard of ...

    burying a person at sea on what is essentially a day cruise?

    Were there even sleeping quarters on this rustbucket? Was the 'submarine' in international waters?

    Likely she had discovered something untoward with the 'financials' and had asked too many of the wrong questions.

  22. Mycho Silver badge

    Starting to make sense.

    The Beeb is now saying that the body was deliberately mutilated and the submarine is believed to have been deliberately scuttled.

    So he faked an accident and killed her, reasons to come later. His only mistake was underestimating our ability to recover corpses from the ocean.

    1. Shez

      Re: Starting to make sense.

      Not only deliberately mutilated, with the arms, legs and head removed, but also in a way which appears to have been an attempt to prevent the buildup of decomposition gases, the torso was also attached to some metal as ballast.

      It's sounding less like the honourable "sea burial" that was first implied, he clearly didn't want the torso to be found.

  23. WereWoof

    Snip < one of the only privately funded crafts of its kind > snip. Surely The only OR one of the few?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fall guy for a ritual sacrifice a la Dutroux / Saville?

    If his behaviour is highly out of character, he could have made these statements as a patsy under duress / or to fulfil some faustian bargain.

    Maybe someone who financed it wanted an inescapable torture chamber?

  25. defiler Silver badge

    Well, the dismembered body was her after all

    BBC News have it as a DNA match (although my fingers automatically type DNS).

    I suspect Mr Madsen has some significant explaining to do...

    1. sadnerd

      Re: Well, the dismembered body was her after all

      "Traces of blood have been found inside the submarine, and they also match Ms Wall."

      Doesn't leave him much wriggle room

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A guess

    He started dismembering the body as he was unable to lift it whole through the various hatches. However she died he wanted rid of the body quickly, that is not a good sign IMO.

    As as an old twisted bitter git with a sick sense of humour can I just say some of these comments that concern a recently deceased individual are terrible, I know this is the internet but seriously could you not give it a couple of months before naff joking about her death?

  27. TheElder

    Another posibility exists.

    She escaped. She swam away. Sharks ate her. He left her remains "buried at sea".

    Occam's Razor cut up her body.

  28. DagD

    Most likely, she refused to go down with the dingy

    erm... sub.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given that the guy was obviously a bit of a nutter (I mean, you have to be a nutter to build your own private submarine for no obvious purpose, right?) then bringing a friend along on the trip might have been a good idea...

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