Danish police find severed head of missing journalist

The torso of Swedish journalist Kim Wall was found floating in the waters off Copenhagen on Aug 21, 11 days after she went missing.
The torso of Swedish journalist Kim Wall was found floating in the waters off Copenhagen on Aug 21, 11 days after she went missing.

COPENHAGEN • Danish police said yesterday that divers have recovered the decapitated head and legs of Swedish journalist Kim Wall who vanished in August while interviewing an inventor on board his homemade submarine.

In a grisly case worthy of a noir thriller, Copenhagen police inspector Jens Moller Jensen told reporters that divers found bags containing Ms Wall's missing clothes, her head and legs in Koge Bay, south of the Danish capital. "Last night, our forensic dentist confirmed that it was Kim Wall's head," he said.

Her torso was found floating in the waters off Copenhagen on Aug 21, 11 days after she went missing.

Self-taught Danish engineer and inventor Peter Madsen, 46, has been accused of the 30-year-old journalist's death, with prosecutors saying he dismembered her body before throwing it overboard.

Mr Madsen, who is married and has been in custody since Aug 11, claims Ms Wall died when a 70kg hatch door fell on her head, and in a panic, he threw her body overboard. He has insisted her body was intact at the time.

But Mr Jensen said the decapitated head contradicted Mr Madsen's version of events. There is "no sign of fracture on the skull and there isn't any sign of other blunt violence to the skull", he said, citing an autopsy carried out overnight.

Locating Ms Wall's head had been a priority for investigators as the final autopsy on the torso was not able to establish the cause of death. However, it did show multiple mutilation wounds to Ms Wall's genitals.

Prosecutors believe Mr Madsen killed Ms Wall as part of a sexual fantasy, then dismembered and mutilated her body.

Last week, prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen told a court custody hearing that a hard disk found in Mr Madsen's workshop contained fetish films in which real women were tortured and decapitated.

"This hard drive doesn't belong to me," Mr Madsen insisted, saying numerous people had access to his workshop. He has maintained there was no sexual relationship between him and Ms Wall, and their contact had been purely professional.

Ms Wall was believed to be working on a feature story on Mr Madsen, an eccentric, well-known figure in Denmark, who has successfully launched rockets with the aim of developing private space travel.

Police have also said they were re-examining the unsolved case of a Japanese tourist, whose mutilated body was found at a Copenhagen harbour in 1986, to see if there is any possible link to the Wall case.

Ms Kazuko Toyonaga, a 22-year-old student, was on vacation when she disappeared. Her legs were found in a plastic bag floating in the waters off Copenhagen.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 08, 2017, with the headline 'Danish police find severed head of missing journalist'. Print Edition | Subscribe