The Danish inventor, who is serving a life sentence for the heinous murder of a Swedish journalist aboard his homemade submarine, escaped from prison on Tuesday, but was captured a half-a-mile away from the jail by heavily armed police, officials said.
Peter Madsen, 49, allegedly fled the Herstedvester Prison in Albertslund wearing what police described as a “dummy” explosives belt, before being handcuffed and arrested by police shortly after 1 p.m.
The aftermath was captured by the Danish news outlet Ekstra Bladet, who took live video footage of the harrowing ordeal.
“He is sitting right now up a fence in Albertslund and has a belt-like object around his stomach,” said the reporter from Ekstra Bladet. “Two armed officers were lying on the ground watching him. There are both bombers, action force and command center present.”
Herstedevester Prison Hanne Hoegh Rasmussen said none of the employees in the prison had been physically injured but were shaken by the ordeal.
According to the Copenhagen West Region Police, before his arrest, Madsen jumped into a white van and forced the driver to take off, but the vehicle was stopped by police. He was lifted out and laid on the ground and handcuffed him as bombers examined the belt he was wearing.
“It seems to be a bogus belt,” police operations chief Mogens Lauridsen said.
Copenhagen West Region Police and the Danish Prison and Probation Service, are now investigating how Madsen was able to escape in the first place, Ekstra Bladet reported. Madsen has previously been in isolation due to suspicion of escape plans. The New York Post reported that all prisoners at Herstedvester Prison are locked inside their cells so they can be searched.
“How could it even happen that Peter Madsen managed to get free,” said Lauridsen during a press conference later that today.
According to Lauridsen, Madsen was in possession of something reminiscent of a pistol and it is not known, as of yet, whether Madsen made it himself.
“When we came, he threw away something that looked like a firearm,” Lauridsen said. Investigators don’t believe Madsen had an accomplice.
Madsen, 49, was sentenced to life in prison in April 2018 for the gruesome murder of journalist Kim Wall, whom he tortured and dismembered before throwing her body out to sea, after he invited her on his 60-foot UC3 Nautilus submarine, for a story she was working on reported the Agence France Presse.
Copenhagen district court judge Anette Burko and two lay judges sentenced Madsen to life in prison which is Denmark's harshest sentence and one that is rarely handed down, with only 25 inmates currently serving life terms, according to Agence France Presse.
The gruesome killing drew global headlines and spawned the series, “The Secret Recordings with Peter Madsen,” which Discovery Networks Denmark aired last month, according to the Danish news outlet, Jyllands-Posten.
According to Jyllands-Posten, in court, Madsen denied the murder of Wall, but in the documentary he answers “yes,” to the fact he killed her.
“There is only one who is guilty, and that is me,” he said in the film.
Justice Minister Haekkerup said in a tweet: “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.”