Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering journalist Kim Wall aboard a homemade submarine in 2017, has confessed to her murder for the first time in a new documentary. And though Madsen’s few seconds of candor probably weren’t enough to warrant an entire documentary—as the horrific evidence against him was overwhelming—this is the first time he has admitted publicly to killing Wall.
The Danish documentary, titled “The Secret Recordings with Peter Madsen,” is comprised of over 20 hours of recorded phone conversations with Madsen, who was sentenced to life in prison murdering Wall in 2018.
Wall was a Swedish journalist whose work had appeared in The New York Times and The Guardian; Madsen a “semi-celebrity” inventor in Denmark. On August 10, 2017, Wall boarded the submarine in order to interview Madsen about his plans to build a homemade rocket. In her final text to her partner, Wall wrote, “I’m still alive btw. But I’m going down now. I love you! He brought coffee and cookies tho.” Her body wouldn’t be found for nearly two weeks. On August 11, Madsen was discovered alone, aboard his sinking submarine, while Wall’s torso was discovered on August 21 by a cyclist after it washed ashore on a beach.
Madsen first told police that he had left Wall safely on the shore before his submarine sank. Later, he claimed Wall had hit her head on board and died of her injuries before he finally landed on a narrative in which she died of carbon monoxide poisoning inside the submarine while he was on deck and that he’d only dismembered her to make it easier to dump her body at sea.
In the documentary, when journalist Kristian Linnemann asks Madsen if he killed Wall, he answers “Yes,” and goes on to say “It’s my fault she died. And it’s my fault because I committed the crime. It’s all my fault … There is only one who is guilty, and that is me.”
However, the confession isn’t much of a surprise, considering the fact that prosecutors in the case gave evidence of 15 stab wounds on Wall’s body, along with Madsen’s DNA. Giving Madsen 20 additional hours of attention feels like 20 hours too much.