Peter Madsen, a Danish man serving a life sentence for the 2017 murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, was apprehended Tuesday after he briefly escaped from prison, Danish police said.
Police reportedly surrounded Madsen, 49, close to the Herstedvester prison in Albertslund, Denmark shortly after 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday. Footage from the scene appears to show Madsen sitting on grass with his hands behind his back as police face him from several different positions.
The exact circumstances of his escape from the prison were not immediately clear. Police said he fled after holding a prison employee hostage while carrying objects that looked like a pistol and a bomb belt, Reuters reported. Police officers apprehended Madsen inside a van near the facility within five minutes of being notified he had escaped, Danish police official Mogens Lauridsen told reporters Tuesday.
“Nothing indicates that the belt contained explosives,” Lauridsen said.
Wall, a prolific and accomplished journalist who had reported internationally for a wide variety of publications, disappeared on Aug. 10, 2017, after she boarded Madsen’s homemade submarine for an interview. She was 30-years-old. Madsen initially denied any involvement in her disappearance, claiming to have returned her to Copenhagen after their trip on the submarine. He then claimed to have buried her at sea after an accident on board, but denied murdering her.
Authorities later recovered her dismembered body off Copenhagen’s coast. In 2018, Madsen was found guilty of sexual assault, premeditated murder and indecent handling of a corpse in 2018. During his sentencing in April 2018, Judge Anette Burkoe said Madsen murdered Wall in a “serious and brutal manner.”
Danish Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup said in a statement posted on Twitter that authorities will “launch a number of further measures against prisoner escapes in the near future.”
“It goes without saying that convicted prisoners who have committed the worst possible crimes should not be able to escape from the custody of the authorities,” he said.