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Kim Wall and the Danish submarine: What we know and what we don't

Peter Madsen and Kim Wall on the submarine Nautilus Image copyright Ritzau Foto
Image caption Kim Wall boarded Peter Madsen's submarine Nautilus but we do not know what happened next

Swedish journalist Kim Wall, 30, disappeared during the night of 10 August.

She was last seen embarking on a trip off the Copenhagen coast in a homemade submarine built by Danish inventor Peter Madsen.

After a long search, her mutilated torso was found by a passing cyclist on 21 August.

Mr Madsen has said she died in an accident on board the submarine and has denied a charge of negligent manslaughter.

The mystery has transfixed Scandinavia and many questions surrounding Kim Wall's death remain unanswered.

What do we know about Kim Wall's disappearance?

A respected freelance journalist, Ms Wall was researching a feature about Peter Madsen, an inventor who built his private 40-tonne submarine, UC3 Nautilus, through crowdfunding in 2008.

She had previously reported from North Korea, the South Pacific, Uganda and Haiti, writing for the New York Times, Guardian, Vice and the South China Morning Post.

She met Mr Madsen at around 19:00 local time on Thursday 10 August at Refshaleoen, a harbour area in Copenhagen, and she boarded the Nautilus. The last picture of the pair in the sub's conning tower was taken at 20:30 by a man on a cruise ship, a short time before sunset.

Ms Wall did not return and was reported missing by her boyfriend at 02:30 on Friday.

Image copyright PETER THOMPSON
Image caption This is the last known picture of the sub taken before Kim Wall's disappearance at 20:30 on 10 August

The sub was not equipped with satellite tracking so after the alarm was raised in the early hours of Friday, rescue services searched for the vessel for hours.

It was not until 10:30 on 11 August that the first sighting of the vessel was confirmed from a lighthouse in the Oresund, a strait between Sweden and Denmark.

A merchant ship later reported coming within 30m (98ft) of the unlit sub to the north-west of the Oresund bridge at about midnight on 10 August. Police say at that point, the submarine crossed the channel from Denmark towards Sweden in the southern part of the Oresund.

Contact with Mr Madsen was finally established. But half an hour after the first reported sighting, the submarine sank and Mr Madsen was taken to safety by rescue services.

After analysing the wreck, Copenhagen police said on 14 August that "the sinking of the submarine was allegedly a consequence of a deliberate act".

What happened to Kim Wall?

What happened to the Swedish journalist on the submarine is unclear and it was 13 days before she was confirmed dead.

According to Mr Madsen's account, there was an accident on board, Kim Wall died, and he "buried" her at sea somewhere in Koge Bay, about 50km (30 miles) south of Copenhagen. The nature of the alleged accident, and other details, remain undisclosed. However, a number of macabre facts have emerged.

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Media captionKim Wall's death: What we know so far

"There is a torso from which arms, legs and head have been removed as a result of deliberate cutting," announced Copenhagen police chief Jens Moller Jensen after human remains were discovered on 21 August on the shore of Klydesoen, to the south of Copenhagen.

Two days later, police said DNA taken from Ms Wall's toothbrush and hairbrush matched the remains. The lead investigator also revealed that blood found on the sunken submarine had been confirmed as Ms Wall's.

Her torso had been weighed down by metal to help it sink, and injuries she had suffered appeared to suggest that air had been forced out of her body.

Mr Madsen's lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, has said he does not confess to anything and pleads not guilty. "The DNA match doesn't change my client's explanation that an accident happened," she said.

Has Peter Madsen's story changed?

Initially the inventor, well known in Denmark for his submarine and rocket activities, said he had dropped Ms Wall off after dark at about 22:30 on 10 August at the Halvandet restaurant, on the northern tip of Refshaleoen, close to where they had met earlier.

Restaurant owner Bo Petersen said the area was well covered by CCTV and he handed the video footage to police.

We do not know what was on the video but police said after a judicial hearing on 12 August that Peter Madsen had given them a new account of events. That account finally emerged on 21 August when police said he told them he had thrown the body into the sea after an accident. His lawyer said he had always wanted the account to be made public.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Peter Madsen, right, was eventually brought to shore on Friday morning

What we still don't know

The big question remains what really happened to Kim Wall after she met Peter Madsen on board his submarine.

Where did they go after the sun went down on 10 August and what happened in the hours before the sub was finally spotted at 10:30 the following day? The search for the journalist's remains goes on and her mother, Ingrid, has said there are still a number of questions to be answered.

Danish and Swedish maritime authorities say they have determined the route the submarine travelled in Koge Bay and the Oresund strait before sinking.

Copenhagen police have urged people who have travelled with Mr Madsen before to explain what happened on their trips.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Danish police focused their investigation on the sub to dismantling its electronic equipment

Why is the case behind closed doors?

This is not uncommon in Denmark. It means that Mr Madsen's own lawyer is not allowed to give her client's side of the story, other than to say he is innocent.

The charge of negligent manslaughter is seen as an initial step that will keep the defendant in custody until early September. It can later be changed or withdrawn.

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