Denmark Plans to Ban Lifers From Starting New Romances

They're worried about prison 'groupies,' including a teen who fell for Peter Madsen
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2021 1:48 PM CDT
Denmark Plans to Ban Lifers From Starting New Romances
In this 2008 photo, Peter Madsen stands inside his submarine.   (Niels Hougaard /Ritzau via AP, File)

Peter Madsen, the Danish man serving a life sentence for torturing, killing, and dismembering journalist Kim Wall on his submarine in 2017, apparently has a busier love life than many people on the outside—and the country's lawmakers want to put an end to it. A new bill introduced in response to concerns about prison "groupies" would ban prisoners serving life sentences from entering new romantic relationships during the first 10 years of their sentences, the BBC reports. It follows reports that a 17-year-old girl fell in love with Madsen and communicated with him for two years until he married a 39-year-old Russian woman in 2020. Denmark permits conjugal visits, and sources told Denmark's BT tabloid in 2018 that Madsen received visits from four women in the months after his conviction.

The teen later said she felt she had been manipulated by Madsen and the relationship had ruined her life. "Recent years have seen distasteful examples of inmates who have committed vile crimes gaining contact with very young people to get their sympathy and attention," said Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup, per the Local. He said prisoners serving life sentences should not be allowed to use prisons as a dating center or a "media platform to boast about their crimes."

The bill would limit long-term prisoners to contacting only people they were close to before they were incarcerated. It would also ban lifers from posting about their offenses on social media or discussing them in podcasts. The bill has solid support in the country's parliament and the new law is expected to come into force early next year. (Madsen briefly escaped from prison last year.)

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