Peter Madsen: Russian artist marries Danish submarine killer

Jenny Curpen, archive pic, 2012Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Jenny Curpen accuses Danish society of demonising Peter Madsen

A Russian artist living in self-imposed exile in Finland has defended her marriage to the notorious jailed Danish killer Peter Madsen.

Jenny Curpen married Madsen on 19 December, according to her Facebook page. She has received many hostile messages, some calling her crazy.

Madsen received a life sentence in April 2018 for the sexual assault and murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall.

Her dismembered body was found after she had boarded his submarine.

Madsen is in Herstedvester Prison, just outside Copenhagen, and on Facebook he confirmed his marriage to Ms Curpen.

He wrote on Friday: "I won't be able to have access to internet, to receive and to react to your messages. If you still have any need to interact, feel free to contact Jenny Curpen via Facebook."

Ms Curpen lives in the Finnish town of Salo with a fellow Russian political exile, Alexei Devyatkin, and they have two infant sons.

Media caption,
Kim Wall's death - what we know

The 2017 murder of Kim Wall, a distinguished freelance journalist, was marked by "unusual brutality", the judges at Madsen's trial said.

Madsen, now 49, admitted dismembering her body, but claimed she had died in an accident on the submarine he had built. Her headless torso washed up on a beach, then divers found other body parts dumped at sea in weighted plastic bags.

Originally a journalist, Ms Curpen describes herself now as an artist. She told BBC Russian that her marriage to Madsen was genuine, not just part of an "art project" she had announced earlier, which is called: "This is not the Peter we knew".

She said the phrase had been repeated by the inventor's former friends, and symbolised the way society had demonised him since the crime. He was famous for his home-made submarine and for designing experimental space rockets.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Peter Madsen pictured with his home-made submarine on 31 May 2017

In a post on Sunday, Ms Curpen wrote: "My husband committed a horrible crime and he is punished for that. However, knowing him for real give me an exclusive right to say that I am lucky to be with the most beautiful, smart, talented, devoted and empathetic person and man ever.

"My husband is the one of two victims of his crime and staying alive was a punishment itself for him."

Her Facebook page shows a metal tag apparently from a prison visit, and a scrap of paper showing part of the prison's address.

On Sunday she had complained of "thousands of weird, stupid, absurd or aggressive comments, messages and threats of physical nature from many so-called normal, law-abiding good people".

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Jenny Curpen with Alexei Devyatkin in 2012 before they fled to Finland

She used to work for, a Russian opposition news website banned by the authorities. She and Mr Devyatkin were arrested in 2012 after attending rallies of the far-left opposition National Bolsheviks.

The party, led by Eduard Limonov, is in a grouping called The Other Russia, fiercely opposed to President Vladimir Putin. Limonov has ultra-nationalist views - he supported Serb hardliners in former Yugoslavia - and spent nearly two years in jail on terrorism charges.

Ms Curpen says she fled with Mr Devyatkin first to Ukraine, then to Finland, where they were granted political asylum.

Defending her Madsen art project, she wrote in a manifesto: "Supporting the guilty one, calling him a friend, we smash 'normality' into pieces, diversify the symbolic capital of culture, engage in cultural terrorism, essentially the only truly effective form of peaceful resistance."

She says she launched the project in mid-2018, but soon realised she needed "some form of collaboration with Peter himself, and in autumn [2018] personal communication began".

After his arrest in 2017, Madsen divorced his wife. A Danish news website, BT, says Madsen began seeking penpals from his prison cell in August 2018.

BT says he had a trio of female admirers who supported him during his court appeal. The nationalist Danish People's Party wants tighter restrictions on prison visits to Madsen and others jailed for the worst crimes.