Documentary on Denmark submarine killing airs

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A self-taught Danish engineer, who was convicted of torturing and murdering a Swedish journalist on his homemade submarine in 2017 before dismembering her body and dumping it at sea, said “it’s all my fault she died” in a documentary that aired Wednesday.

Peter Madsen said that journalist Kim Wall was interviewing him on the submarine and was “hitting something.” He was then asked if that triggered something in him so he “at the end kills her,” to which Madsen replies “yes.” It wasn’t clear what she hit — whether it was something she said that made him react, or something in the submarine.

The documentary aired on the Dplay channel, which is part of Discovery Networks in Denmark. The documentary was based on telephone interviews with Madsen.

“It’s my fault she died,” he said. “And it’s my fault because I committed the crime. It’s all my fault.”

But at no point does Madsen admit killing her.

“I can remember every millisecond of that trip in the submarine. But I do not know what caused Kim to die, concretely and specifically and physiologically,” Madsen said in the program.

In 2018, Madsen was sentenced in the Copenhagen City Court to life in prison for killing Wall, a 30-year-old freelance reporter from neighboring Sweden, after bringing her aboard his submarine with the promise of an interview the previous summer.

Madsen, now 49, lost his appeal the same year, shortly after apologizing to the victim’s family who were present in the appeals court. The sensational case has gripped Scandinavia.

Life sentences in Denmark usually mean 16 years in prison, but convicts are reassessed during their incarceration to determine whether they would pose a danger to society if released and can be kept longer.

During the entire trial, Madsen has denied murdering Wall and only said she died accidentally inside the submarine, but has confessed to throwing her body parts into the Baltic Sea.

The documentary is entitled “Secret talks recordings with Peter Madsen” and is based on 20 hours of telephone interviews. The Associated Press has seen the first of the five episodes where Madsen made the remarks.

In the interview, Madsen also seems to distance himself from what happened, saying “she pushed some buttons” when interviewing him, and “by doing that she touched a land mine,” which exploded.

Madsen, who grew up in a small town west of Copenhagen, built rockets in his spare time but never went to university. In 2008, he launched his UC3 Nautilus submarine, which he claimed was the largest privately built submarine in the world.

Wall had planned to interview Madsen for a story on a rocket program he founded in 2014, with the goal of building a crowd-funded rocket to launch himself into space. But by the time he finally texted her, his cash flow had dried up and he had canceled the planned test launch later that month.