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Crime News

Who Is Ditte Dyreborg, The Naval Commander Who Helped Convict Kim Wall's Killer?

Ditte Dyreborg was never impressed by Peter Madsen's minor celebrity status, even before he murdered journalist Kim Wall.

By Gina Tron
Undercurrent Kim Wall Hbo 1

Entertainment Tonight is calling Royal Denmark Navy Lt. Commander Ditte Dyreborg the “breakout star” of Erin Lee Carr’s “Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall,” a new HBO two-part documentary that looks back at  Kim Wall’s 2017. 

And it’s no wonder why. The nautical expert doesn’t hold back.

“Immediately, when I heard the submarine was missing, I was like, ‘Oh it had finally happened,” she states in the documentary, adding that she'd always felt that  Danish inventor Peter Madsen’s self-made submarine was too heavy. She was unimpressed by Madsen, a minor celebrity in Denmark, known for quirky inventions including ships and rockets. 

Dyreborg was involved from the beginning in the investigation into the murder of Kim Wall, a journalist who disappeared while reporting a story about Madsen and his submarine. Wall was supposed to be onboard the craft for just a few hours for an interview but after the vessel failed to return to shore, her boyfriend reported the submarine missing at sea.

Soon, Madsen’s submarine was spotted sinking. Dyreborg was immediately suspicious.

“I said, ‘no no no no no, a submarine doesn’t just sink like that,” she reflected. “He could have saved it. So there’s something wrong here and there was still one person missing.”

She added, “He sunk it intentionally. That was the only thing I thought at that time.”

In turn, Dyreborg went to the police and told them she thought something was wrong. She suggested that they arrest him but they told her they couldn’t yet, not without due cause. She told them she was “quite sure” that he did something criminal. And from that point on she made sure that law enforcement didn't let up on their investigation, even as his Madsen's stories changed. 

"Ditte Dyreborg doesn’t mince words. She had those words for Peter when she first me him and his amateur build submarine years before the murder," Carr told Oxygen.com." Ditte said this and more at the trial. Later she’d tell me that people tried to discredit her and her qualification due her status of a trans woman but she would not be deterred. If I ever have a child, I hope they are strong like Ditte."

Dyreborg testified for the prosecution in Madsen’s trial, which ultimately resulted in a 2018 murder conviction. 

Prosecutors claimed Madsen murdered Wall as part of violent sexual fantasy, citing graphic footage found on his computer including images of women being murdered. They produced evidence that showed he brought the tools to bind and stab Wall. They also showed texts he'd deleted, but that were recovered, in which he told a friend he had planned the perfect murder for “great pleasure,”  the New York Times reported in 2018.

He is serving a life sentence. 

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