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The Investigation: the true story of Kim Wall's murder

The BBC true-crime show looks at the investigation into her murder 

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
29 January 2021
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BBC's new crime series The Investigation is set to air on BBC Two on Friday night, and follows a detective and his team as they investigate journalist Kim Wall's murder. So what is the true story behind the compelling series? Find out more about Kim Wall here...

MORE: The Investigation: Meet the cast of the Danish crime drama

Who was Kim Wall?

Kim Wall was an award-winning Swedish journalist who had written for The Guardian, Vice, The New York Times and Slate among other titles. 

WATCH: The Investigation looks at Kim's disappearance and murder

She was remembered by her friend Caterina Clerici, who wrote a feature about her for The Guardian describing her as "bubbling with ideas" and was "born to tell stories, and born to write". 

In August 2017, she and her boyfriend, Ole Stobbe, were preparing to move to Beijing in a week's time when she was contacted by Peter Madsen, who had built his own submarine, and who she had been keen to interview. He invited her to interview him on his homemade submarine, UC3 Nautilus. 

submarine 1

The submarine was sank by Madsen

The true story behind Kim Wall's disappearance and murder

After joining him on his submarine, Kim didn't return to shore as planned and her boyfriend, Ole, called the police to report her missing in the early hours of the morning. The following day, the submarine was discovered to have sank. 

kim wall book

Ingrid and Joachim Wall wrote a book about their daughter

Madsen initially claimed that he had dropped Kim off on land, before changing his story and claiming that she had been killed after striking her head on the hatch cover. However, a post-mortem of Kim's decapitated body, which was found in the water and on the shore, showed multiple stab wounds, and he was charged with murder, indecent handling of a corpse and sexual assault. 

the investigation

Are you going to watch The Investigation?

The murderer was found guilty of all three charges and was sentenced to life imprisonment at Copenhagen Court House in April 2018. 

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Kim Wall's legacy 

Kim's family set up a GoFundMe in memory of the journalist, where they raised around £350,000. Back in 2019, they provided a grant to a journalist who "embodies the spirit of Kim’s reporting", encouraging women to apply for the 2020 Kim Wall Memorial Fund. You can donate here. 

The site reads: "Kim wanted more women to be out in the world, brushing up against life, and the Kim Wall Memorial Fund honours this legacy." 

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