In Brief

Who is Peter Madsen?

The Danish inventor is at the centre of a murder investigation involving Swedish journalist Kim Wall

The Danish aerospace engineer, entrepreneur and inventor Peter Madsen is embroiled in a shocking murder investigation involving Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall, whose torso was discovered near the water's edge southwest of the island of Amager in Denmark.

Police confirmed today that the torso belonged to the missing 30-year-old, who they believe was killed on a homemade submarine. Officials say a piece of metal attached to her body was placed there, most probably in order to "make it sink", The Guardian reports. 

Madsen has denied a charge of negligent manslaughter brought against him.

What do we know about him?

While much media coverage has been devoted to the murder, less is known about 46-year-old Madsen, who was born in eastern Denmark. He's one of four sons who were brought up by their father in a small town on the west coast of Zealand, Denmark's largest island.

The New York Times describes Madsen as "the rare middle-school science whizz to realise his dreams of becoming a celebrated inventor." 

The Danish inventor built rockets as a teenager. Admirers in Denmark praised his technology and design, though they wondered at times about his temper, the Times says.

At the age of 15, Madsen used a fictitious affiliation, the Danish Space Agency, when he sought help building his rockets, according to his biographer, Thomas Djursing, author of Rocket Madsen: Denmark's Do-It-Yourself Astronaut

The Dane became a local celebrity of sorts, the New York Times says: "Some admirers envisioned his taking on space giants like NASA or even the British billionaire Richard Branson."

Madsen excelled as a self-taught aerospace engineer, submarine builder and co-founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, a non-profit spaceflight organisation, and founder and CEO of Rocket-Madsens Space Laboratory ApS

The Dane was also skipper and designer of the UC3 Nautilus, a privately-owned submarine that sank off the Danish coast on Friday.

The inventor initially told police that he boarded the submarine with Wall at about 22:30 on 10 August, close to where they had met earlier.

Following a judicial hearing, Madsen gave police a new account of events and on 21 August police said Madsen told them he threw the journalist's body into the sea after an accident. His lawyer said he wanted the account to be made public.

Today, police say they have identified the torso as that of the missing journalist. She was last seen on board Madsen's DIY submarine. While no cause of death has been announced, police say they believe she was deliberately dismembered, Gizmodo reports. 

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