back to article Headless body found near topless beach: Missing private sub journalist identified

Danish cops have identified the headless torso found in Copenhagen bay as that of Kim Wall – the journalist who went missing after taking a ride in a homemade submarine. Wall, 30, had disappeared on August 10 after embarking on what was supposed to be a short trip with engineer Peter Madsen aboard the UC3 Nautilus, the world's …

  1. Chris Miller

    If this were the plot of a Scandi-noir novel, it would be dismissed as ridiculously implausible.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      This guy sounds like another Hans Reiser except this guy wasn't dumb enough to commit the crime in the one developed country with a 3rd world prison system (San Quentin).

      1. SuccessCase

        I think the likely scenario was, “she lost her head because he lost his head because she wouldn’t give head.”

        Of course who “he” is in this scenario has yet to be proved in a court of law.

        1. SuccessCase

          Any jokes about submarines and a muff dive gone wrong? Too soon?

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          "he lost her head because he lost his head because she wouldn’t give head"

          Sounds like you're Heading in the Right Direction

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >This guy sounds like another Hans Reiser.......

        Steady on, there has to be a full police investigation, a trial then finally a conviction. Just a couple of names to throw at you that always make me reserve judgement and avoid a lynching: Colin Stagg and Stefan Kiszko.

        Things look mighty suspicious though and he's a lot of unexplained questions to answer. I don't think he should be making long term plans to live abroad or buy a house on the prima facea situation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A Journalist? Surely, she was a sub-editor?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Clearly, he's engaging in subterfuge.

  2. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Headless body found near topless beach

    What would be surprising: Body complete with head found near topless beach...

  3. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    It's one for Wallander

    Pass me the blower.

  4. DNTP

    Making light of tragedy

    Usually I enjoy The Reg's style of snappy headline. This time it's completely inappropriate. There is absolutely nothing funny about this story.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Making light of tragedy

      It was a nod to a famous headline from the New York Post "headless body in topless bar".

      1. tokamaktech

        Re: Making light of tragedy

        Still doesn't make it funny - this was a bridge too far for me too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Making light of tragedy

          As in Captain to the bridge.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making light of tragedy

      The temptation to respond with a sassy "Don't lose your head!" is strong.

      I feel terrible for the poor woman and her loved ones. We may never know what happened on that submarine.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Making light of tragedy

      Also, 10 miles equates with Buckingham Palace being near Twickenham Stadium.

      Obviously a headline written by Trump.

    5. SuccessCase

      Re: Making light of tragedy

      Aww come on. I suspect it was because of censorious attitudes like that that Oscar Wilde wrote “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.”

      1. technoise

        Re: Making light of tragedy

        Oscar Wilde's comments concerning the death of Little Nell were referring to a work of fiction.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Making light of tragedy

      "There is absolutely nothing funny about this story."

      I dunno, I laugh at "dead baby" jokes and "man with no arms/legs" jokes...

      What do you call a man with no arms/legs floating in the water?

      BOB! [had to do that one]

      (coat, please)

      1. emess
        Coat

        Re: Making light of tragedy

        And the same guy hiding in a pile of leaves?

        Russell

        (my coat too)

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Making light of tragedy

          And the same guy waiting at your door?

          Matt

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Making light of tragedy

            Oh dear, you got me started.

            Hanging on a wall: Art

            Floating in a hot tub: Stu

            Lying in the garden: Pete

            Lying in a safe: Will

            Sitting on a stage: Mike

            Flying over a fence: Homer

            What do you call a man with no feet? Neil

            What do you call a woman with one leg shorter than the other? Ilene

            If she's Asian? Irene

            I trust there are people I haven't offended, but the day is young.

            1. Scott 26

              Re: Making light of tragedy

              You forgot: Man with 50 rabbits up his bum - Warren

      2. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: I dunno, I laugh at "dead baby" jokes

        Me too, but I managed to avoid posting them on articles about Charlie Gard.

      3. SuccessCase

        Re: Making light of tragedy

        "What do you call a man with no arms/legs floating in the water?

        BOB! [had to do that one]"

        ...and the man with no arms and no legs swimming in a swimming pool?

        Clever Dick!

    7. felixk

      Re: Making light of tragedy

      Finally -- I was already wondering whether the Humour Police might have been disbanded. Welcome back, Comrade, and don't forget to check in with the Commissar For Serious Matters to pick up a copy of the current List Of Things That Are Inappropriate to Joke About.

  5. RegGuy1

    Awful, simply awful

    The submarine bit really is irrelevant.

    If this had been a gangland killing the opprobrium would have been extreme.

    Whilst I, like everyone here, can concoct my own story of what may have happened, we must wait for due process to reveal the 'truth.'

    Therefore I would argue any humour is misplaced. Sorry for being a killjoy, but we must show some respect.

    1. Shugyosha

      Re: Awful, simply awful

      Agree it's awful and the submarine bit makes no difference, but if it hadn't been for all the submarine weirdness, no one outside Denmark would even know about this story.

      1. Brangdon

        Re: no one outside Denmark

        She's a journalist who writes for The Guardian. It was always going to be reported in this country by her fellow journalists.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Awful, simply awful

      Need to wait and see if some awful accident happened, maybe with a hatch on the sub, and he made a botched attempt to cover it up, or if he is one of those time-bomb people with a wrongly wired brain that have violent impulsive behaviours.

      Or something else.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Awful, simply awful

      "Sorry for being a killjoy,..."

      I thought her name was Kim?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Madsen

    Clue's in the name.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

    ...Trump being president.

    1. Haku

      Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

      I always loved dystopian sci-fi films because they would ask the question "How bad would life be like if..." and for a short while I'd live in an alternate, twisted universe, then when they end I would be thankful things aren't that bad.

      But unfortunately, looking around at the current state of the world, "if..." appears to be happening and now after watching those sorts of films I don't have that comforting feeling anymore.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

        I have this hunch that someone has actually come up with a time machine and stepped on a butterfly in a bygone era.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

          Shhhhh... don't tell anyone it was me

      2. earl grey Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

        Nice. "if..."

        Loved that movie and still have the VHS. Have a beer.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

        I'd live in an alternate, twisted universe, then when they end I would be thankful things aren't that bad.

        But unfortunately, looking around at the current state of the world

        It's not that bad - at least we haven't been invaded by aliens yet.

        Hang on - why has the sky gone dark?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

          It's just a, secondary eclipse, yes, a secondary eclipse. Kinda like a quake's aftershock, pay it no mind at all but be aware it might just last all night.

        2. wayward4now
          Boffin

          Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

          "It's not that bad - at least we haven't been invaded by aliens yet." That is because we don't WANT your stinkin' planet. Here, on Mars, I am about to finish my harvest of my Ham Bushes, in time to start on my Blanket Trees. After all of that, I will be ready to cast my NSM seeds for a new crop. It is a bunch of work to fertilize each of them, personally, but there is no one else but me to do the job. If you all just stay on Earth, I promise not to invade. .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This story is still nowhere near as strange as...

      Again, the clue is in his name.

  8. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    "Headless body found near topless beach"

    Not funny.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, Reg, please don't pollute my brain with a link between toplessness and decapitation. Two things which do not belong together.

  9. fnj

    Obvious and stupid mistake

    One look at any photo and it's obvious as hell the sub was a lot longer than "26 feet", snort. It's pretty obvious the length was 26 METERS. God help us from idiot writers who don't know the difference between feet and meters. Who gives length in feet of anything anywhere in the world outside of the the US?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

      Who gives length in feet of anything anywhere in the world outside of the the US?

      This is an English 'paper' - I expect the Brexit will eventually lead to a return to Imperial from any greasy undemocratic and republican metric system - closely followed by pounds and shillings, child labour and serfdom, God bless her majesty, she was never amused by Europe.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJpZmOl0-PU

      1. BongoJoe
        Headmaster

        Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

        All this rabid dislike of Imperial measurements when they can be just as decimal as decimal.

        Ten pounds weight is a gallon of water.

        Ten chains (length of a cricket pitch) to a furlong (used in proper sports) and an area described as a furlong by a chain is an acre. And what's so hard about that?

        And best of all: an ounce of gold does weigh more than an ounce of feathers!

        1. EddieD

          Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

          "And best of all: an ounce of gold does weigh more than an ounce of feathers!"

          But a pound of gold weighs less than a pound of feathers.. 5760grains vs 7000 grains (only 12 troy ounces in a pound...)

          Gotta love imperial, it makes you have to think.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

          But in general terms, how many olympic swimming pools would it take to fill the sub ?

    2. mad_dr

      Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

      A fair point. Reg units must be used on all Reg articles. Hence the true length of the sub at 0.8189 brontosaurus.

    3. Rhyd

      Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

      The size is quoted elsewhere as 17 metres / 56 feet. 5 is above 2 on a the numeric keypad - this is commonly called a typo, an honest and simple mistake.

      I don't know how big a meter you're using, but as the sub is 17 metres long I'm assuming your meter is about 2/3 of a metre, or 2.15 feet long.

      Incidentally, Wikipedia states 17.76 m (58 ft 3 in).

    4. PNGuinn
      Trollface

      Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

      Get back under your bridge until you can use some proper units.

      Signed:

      The elReg real units soviet.

    5. Anonymous IV
      FAIL

      Re: Obvious and stupid mistake

      > One look at any photo and it's obvious as hell the sub was a lot longer than "26 feet", snort. It's pretty obvious the length was 26 METERS. God help us from idiot writers who don't know the difference between feet and meters. Who gives length in feet of anything anywhere in the world outside of the the US?

      You're quite right! "Feet" is a measurement of length, and "meter" is a measuring device. You probably were not thinking of "metre" since you spelled it wrong twice.

      Who's the idiot writer now?!

  10. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Reg fail

    I read somewhere that the Danish police are reviewing a case from 1986. The headless, limbless torso of a Japanese woman was found in the same area. The case was never solved.

    I also agree that the "Topless beach" headline is in bad taste.

    1. staggers

      Re: Reg fail

      Hopefully you now know why they used that headline.

    2. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Reg fail

      Never say never, but...

      Peter Madsen would have been a teenager in 1986, 15 years old ore thereabout. Not likely to be a direct link.

      Oh, and the "topless beach" is IMNSHO a ridiculous British obsession. Natch, natch, say no more...

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        British obsession

        Not really, topless beaches originated in the South of France in the '60s with the likes of Brigit Bardot, then spread tp Spanish holiday beaches where the Brits took it up.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reg fail

      "I also agree that the "Topless beach" headline is in bad taste."

      Topless beaches taste bad?!?

  11. samzeman

    Impounded submarine?

    Does the local police have a section of dock they specifically own to impound rogue submarines, or did they have to hire a space? Do emergency services get it free, in the same style as comandeering a vehicle?

    "Sir, I'm comandeering this dry-dock"

    1. gypsythief

      Re: Impounded submarine?

      They lugged it away on a low-loader, there is a picture of that here:

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/21/missing-journalist-died-in-submarine-accident-inventor-tells-police

      The follow-up article has a picture of it dumped in what looks like a weedy corner of the police station carpark (2nd picture down):

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/23/danish-police-confirm-torso-found-copenhagen-journalist-kim-wall

  12. Paul Herber Silver badge
    Mushroom

    the submarine

    Of course the submarine is important. What if it had been a nuclear sub?!!!!!!!

  13. PNGuinn
    Mushroom

    What if it had been a nuclear sub?!!!!!!!

    You are Kim Young'un and I claim my £5.

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Tragic and sick

    This really looks to be a horrific sex crime. I let her out on shore... erm, wait, I, I, ,I, I had to give her a burial at sea, yeah, that's the ticket.

  15. handleoclast

    Headline

    I admit to being baffled by the reaction to the headline.

    Was the body headless? Yes. Uncontrovertibly so.

    Was the body found near a topless beach? Yes, for some values of "near." To a lazy bastard like me, if travelling on foot, 10 miles is far. Many people, however, think nothing of a 30-mile commute to work by car.

    So was the body found near a topless beach? Yes.

    Was the headline intended to be funny? Yes.

    Was the headline actually funny? Well, that's a matter of taste. I thought it was mildly amusing.

    As another commentard has pointed out, the headline may well have been a homage to the Headless Body in Topless Bar newspaper (for small values of "newspaper") headline from 1983.

    Was the headline unacceptably offensive? Nah. I could do much better than that. Maybe not in the headline, but with a little more room to play with (the body of the story) I could instantly outrage 99% of the readership, and the remaining 1% would be outraged after they'd had a while to think about it.

    Get real, people. She's dead. She's not going to be any more dead if El Reg reports on her death with a mildly tasteless/mildly amusing headline. If her family are more upset by the headline (if any of them read it, which is doubtful) than by the fact that she's dead and the fact that she was murdered and the fact that she was dismembered then their priorities are badly disordered.

  16. James Hughes 1

    For a presumably intelligent person, Madsen seems to be exceptionally dumb. Headless/armless torso? Why? DNA will ID the body. Changing his story? Why? Changing a story implies guilt. Burial at sea? Weakest excuse in the history of the world - no one does that - they take the body back to shore.

    A bizarre story, made more bizarre by completely irrational behaviour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why?

      Seemingly part of a plan to make sure it wouldn't float.

    2. Tikimon Silver badge
      Devil

      Planned vs Impulse

      He's not really an idiot for such a pathetic story, just very unprepared. He probably didn't plan a murder that day. He had to improvise in the chemical aftermath of physical violence and stress. Wrong state of mind for a crafty cover story, they always say something that comes back to haunt them later.

      His biggest complication was having a corpse aboard and no way to get it discreetly ashore. Snug up to the dock and borrow a cart? Anchor offshore and float the body to shore from an attention-grabbing vessel? I'm pretty devious but I'd be hard pressed to get away clean from that scenario, even given time to soberly think about it.

      I'm NOT defending a murdering asshole, but his clumsy cover story doesn't necessarily come from being stupid.

  17. schafdog

    Still charged with murder

    ... but he is held on a charge with Involuntary manslaughter of special aggravating kind (up to 8 years) after telling the judge (behind closed doors) on Saturday 12th August that an accident on board has cause the journalist's death. And that he had "buried her at sea somewhere in the Bay of Køge"

    This information was not public until Monday 21st where the "closed doors" was partly lifted. So how much more has been said by Madsen is still unknown.

    What fascinates me is that he thought he could get away with it.

    1. Allonymous Coward
      Childcatcher

      Re: Still charged with murder

      What fascinates me is that he thought he could get away with it

      He would've too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids.

  18. TheElder

    Evidence

    Blood IN the submarine sounds bad. BUT, like nearly everything so far mentioned it is circumstantial evidence. Maybe she cut herself while escaping. One big question not yet answered in public is just how does it seem that body parts were removed? There is a big difference between a shark and a sharp knife, especially near the spine.

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Evidence

      I admit I've been pondering that and the prop could make for a grisly torso missing bits. Again though without knowing more about the nature of the wounds we can only guess until furher information is released.

    2. Tikimon Silver badge

      Re: Evidence

      WARNING GRIM STUFF HERE. According to one report, the body had been perforated in ways seemingly intended to let gases escape and not float later. Sharks just saw off chunks, they're not capable of deep penetrating injuries. The nature of the severed appendages won't match a shark bite either. Propeller cuts are hard to mistake for anything else and won't cleanly sever limbs anyway. In Florida we have plenty of manatees with prop scars on their backs and every limb intact.

      Unless she stabbed herself to death and fell overboard to be dismembered by knife-wielding (until the lasers arrive) sharks, blood in the submarine is pretty strong evidence of murder.

  19. JJKing Silver badge

    Burial at sea? HA!

    It would have been very difficult to get her body up the conning tower to do his "burial at sea" bullshit unless he used the hatch on the deck. This would account for why she was dismembered. It also puts paid to the "burial at sea" because she wasn't buried, just thrown overboard. Why would the dickhead do the "burial at sea" when he was so close to the port. It's not like he was on a clandestine mission for the Danish (mmm, daaaaanish, arrrrrgh) navy.

    Finally, I was surprised they managed to get a DNA match from blood inside a previously water filled sub. I would have thought the sample may have been contaminated by all the crap in sea water especially around a port.

    Hope they get this prick for murder and get confined to a special control room for the rest of his life.

  20. AndyDoran

    Didn't the US Government concoct a similarly crazy story about burying Osama bin Laden at sea?

  21. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    submariners

    Agree the headline could have been improved

    One thing though I learned in the service though: gotta watch the submariners. Bunch of guys stuffed in a long, hard tube full of seamen. Nothing good can come of this...

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