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Peter Madsen, Dane convicted of murdering reporter on homemade submarine, briefly escapes jail

Copenhagen, Denmark — A Danish man convicted of torturing and murdering a Swedish journalist on his homemade submarine escaped the suburban Copenhagen jail where he is serving a life sentence but was recaptured nearby Tuesday. The Ekstra Bladet tabloid posted a video of Peter Madsen sitting in the grass with his hands behind his back and police at distance.

Danish submarine owner and inventor Peter Madsen, right, lands with the help of the Danish navy in Dragor Harbor south of Copenhagen, Denmark, Aug. 11, 2017.
Danish submarine owner and inventor Peter Madsen, right, lands with the help of the Danish navy in Dragor Harbor south of Copenhagen, Denmark, Aug. 11, 2017. Scanpix Denmark/Bax Lindhardt/via Reuters

On Twitter, police said "a man has been arrested after attempted escape." Police spokesman Claus Buhr told The Associated Press it was Madsen.
 
Details were sketchy.
 
A witness, Frank Jensen, told the Ekstra Bladet that police suddenly surrounded a white van, opened the door and pulled Madsen out of it. The scene occurred outside the Herstedvester prison in Albertslund, a Copenhagen suburb where Madsen is serving his sentence.

The Ekstra Bladet said Madsen had taken a psychologist hostage and was carrying "pistol-like object" when he escaped.

FILES-DENMARK-SUBMARINE-MISSING
This photo purportedly shows Swedish journalist Kim Wall standing in the tower of the private submarine "UC3 Nautilus" on August 10, 2017 in Copenhagen Harbor.  Getty

In 2018, Madsen was sentenced in the Copenhagen City Court to life in prison for killing Kim Wall, a 30-year-old reporter from Sweden who he lured aboard his homemade submarine in 2017 with the promise of an interview. He dismembered her body and dumped it at sea.
 
Madsen lost his appeal, shortly after apologizing to the victim's family who were present in the appeals court. The sensational case has gripped Scandinavia.
 
Madsen has denied murdering Wall. He claims she died accidentally inside the submarine but he has confessed to throwing her body parts into the Baltic Sea.
 
Life sentences in Denmark usually mean 16 years in prison, but convicts are reassessed to determine whether they would pose a danger to society if released and can be kept longer.

Denmark Journalist Killed
The submarine UC3 Nautilus of Danish inventor Peter Madsen is seen in Copenhagen, Denmark, March 7, 2018. AP

A self-taught engineer, Madsen built rockets in his spare time but never went to university. In 2008, he launched his homemade UC3 Nautilus submarine.

Wall had planned to interview Madsen for a story on a rocket program he founded in 2014, with the goal of building a crowdfunded rocket to launch himself into space. But by the time he finally texted her, his cash flow had dried up and he had canceled the planned test launch.

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