Transcript: 168. Peter Lundin, Born to Kill | Denmark

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On a sunny morning in July 2000, 24-year-old Martin Pedersen knocked on the door of a house in Rødovre west of Copenhagen, Denmark. He wanted to check in on his stepmom, Marianne Pedersen and her two young sons after not hearing from them for a couple of days. He noticed a note on the door, but something didn’t feel right. The note implied that the family had gone away on vacation and wouldn’t be back until several days later. The note was so strange and suspicious that Martin notified the police – just to be on the safe side. 

When the police arrived at the house, they saw the furniture was covered in plastic and moved away from the walls. Other than that, everything seemed okay. But once forensic investigators moved in, they found a copious amount of blood and human tissue, belonging to a mother and her two young boys. There was vomit in two toilets, and a foul smell seeped from the basement. They had discovered the aftermath of a slaughter.  

These events took place in Denmark, but ten years earlier another grisly murder was committed in America. The body of a 59-year-old woman was found buried in the sand at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. The police spent four months trying to identify the body and only had a breakthrough in the case after receiving a missing persons’ report from the woman’s family back in Germany. Anna Lundin was a mother and wife. She was choked to death by her own son who then dumped her on the beach with the help of his father. 

After serving time for killing his mother in America, the killer was deported to the country of his birth. This deranged psychopath with a twisted attitude towards women became Denmark’s first known serial killer. His name was Peter Lundin.

>>Intro Music

Peter Lundin was born in Denmark on the 15th of February 1972 and was the only child of Ole and Anna. Danish-born Ole Lundin grew up in Canada, and from there he migrated to America with his brother. They did this, because they wanted to join the military, and the US Army permitted them to keep their Danish citizenship. Ole’s brother was sent to Korea, where he succumbed to a virus soon after his arrival. Ole was stationed in Germany, where he was remained for several years. It was during this time that he met a young local girl by the name of Anna Schaftner.

Anna’s father was also a soldier, so becoming an army-wife was something she was quite comfortable with. The couple moved to Denmark in the early seventies, and shortly thereafter Peter was born. No longer in the military, Ole found work as a bricklayer. 

The Lundins were not quite what you’d call the picture-perfect family, though. When Peter was just a baby Anna developed a drinking problem and became emotionally abusive to her son. Ole was an absent father which only fractured the young family further. They lived in a house Ole built himself but experienced a setback when Ole suffered a blood clot and had to reduce his working hours. This caused financial problems, and their house went into foreclosure.

Hoping that a change would make things better, they moved to the United States in 1980 when Peter was eight. They lived in Florida for a while, before making their way to Maggie Valley, North Carolina. 

Sadly, they could not outrun their issues and the atmosphere inside the Lundin family home remained tumultuous. Ole and Anna continued to fight all the time and Peter later stated that he remembered watching these arguments and seeing his father’s abusive behaviour towards his mother. Young Peter was no stranger to violence, as his father’s physical abuse also spilled over onto the boy. With no family or old friends around, the migrant family was isolated, and no one knew what was going on behind closed doors.

However, Peter’s school suspected that he was not living in a good environment. He was an aggressive child, who pushed the limits during wrestling matches and other sporting competitions. After social services looked into the situation, 12-year-old Peter was removed from his parents and placed in a foster home. Anna Lundin was accused of child neglect and abuse, but the investigation was short lived. In the end Peter only stayed in foster care for three months. He was returned to his parents where the abuse continued. The very night Peter returned home; his mother reportedly threatened to strangle him. The police were called, and the situation was diffused, but no further investigation followed. 

Ole left Anna sometime later and took the then-14-year-old Peter with him. They moved all around the country from Los Angeles, to New York, to Boston. Nothing seemed to stick until they moved to Miami. At this point, Ole was a bricklayer and, as a Danish immigrant, found it difficult to land a steady job. 

While in Miami, the teenage Peter worked part time jobs, like waiting tables. Then he dropped out of high school when he was 16 to work as a bricklayer with his father. Against all odds, Ole and Anna rekindled their relationship and father and son made their way back to Maggie Valley, where she was still living. 

With the return to Maggie Valley, Peter also went back to school. Anna continued to struggle with alcohol abuse and isolation. Maggie Valley was a very small town and Anna found it hard to make friends. She missed her life back in Germany and turned to alcohol to fill her days. Drinking made her aggressive and exacerbated her abusive outbreaks toward her son. Anna’s behaviour was out of control and Ole decided it was time to take action. He felt that if she returned to Germany, she would be happier, and arranged for her to go and live with her family in Munich. He and Peter drove Anna to Atlanta from where she would fly back to Germany. But it didn’t last and soon Anna was back in Maggie valley to resume her life with Ole and Peter. 

By this time, the tables had turned. Anna was on the receiving end of severe emotional and physical abuse from both her husband and her son. Neighbours overheard loud scuffles on a regular basis. They called police, who came and broke up the fights, but no further legal action was ever taken. Ole and Peter reportedly tied Anna to a chair on one occasion, then beat her. In two separate incidents, they broke her arm. Peter also admitted that he and his father talked about killing her several times. They were all drunk most of the time. Peter was also doing drugs, and some reports claim he even sold marijuana at school. 

In April 1991, a drunken Anna came at 19-year-old Peter with a pair of scissors and attempted to cut his long hair. Peter was furious and responded in the only way he knew how: with violence. In a fit of rage, he grabbed a hold of his mother’s neck and choked her to death. He grabbed her shirt and pulled on it until her body went limp. He then left her for dead and went to a party. When he returned, his mother was no longer alive, she had not moved from the floor where he left her. 

It would be seven months before Anna’s body was discovered by passers-by, washed up on a beach at Cape Hatteras, more than 500 miles from Maggie Valley. She was in an advanced stage of decomposition and police spent four months trying to identify the body. The break in the case came when Anna’s family in Germany reported her missing. They could not reach Anna, Ole or Peter and were concerned for their safety.

Learning about Anna’s abusive homelife, police suspected that her husband and son were responsible for her murder. On June 6, 1992, more than a year after her murder, Ole and Peter were arrested in a Toronto hotel where they had been hiding out. 

The Lundins were transported back to Dare County, where they awaited trial behind bars for a year. Peter pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison in July 1993. Peter’s defence team sought for an appeal, claiming the sentence was too harsh. The trila judge felt that the act of strangulation was no accident and that it indicated a degree of malice. Lundin’s defence team argued that the judge should not have used the method of murder as the only basis for malice. There should have been another factor to justify his maximum prison sentence. The superior court agreed, and his sentence was reduced to 15 years. 

Ole also confessed to his part in the crime. When Peter told him that he had accidentally killed Anna, Ole had a choice: he could have called the police, or he could have helped his son to conceal what had happened. Ole chose the latter and helped his son to wrap his wife’s body in a blue blanket and tied it up with string and duct tape. Ole drove with his son, all the way to Buxton, where they buried Anna’s body in the sand. He realised there would be questions if they returned to Maggie Valley, and suggested they went to Canada instead. For his part, Ole Lundin was sentenced to 2 years for accessory. 

Because both Peter and Ole were Danish citizens, they would be returned to Denmark upon their eventual releases. 

Peter did not understand why the murder of his mother was such a tremendous issue to authorities and the public. In 1995, Peter was quoted saying: 

“This case has made my mom look less of a person than she was. My mom was my mother – and my friend. She wasn’t a raving drunk or anything. She had her problems.” 

Yet he never showed remorse for killing his mother. When described the murder in his memoir, he claimed that he felt the murder had nothing to do with law enforcement:

“I could not see why the state should interfere with something that was a private matter, so obviously I did anything to escape. I did not want to go to prison for something that was an accident. Something that was a private matter.” 

Despite his abusive attitude towards her while she was still alive, Peter always defended his mother’s reputation in his various interviews through the years. And the more he defended her, the more one thing became clear: HE was the monster. When she came home to work things out, he killed her with his bare hands and then dumped her body on a beach. He had absolutely no respect for her, and it was strange that he wanted to protect her reputation after he killed her. 

Peter was outspoken and arrogant, which did not win him any popularity contests in prison. He was aggressive and repeatedly got in trouble for fights and drug-use. He spent time in isolation because of his threatening and violent behaviour towards other people. While still in prison, Peter wrote his aunt (Ole’s sister) disturbing letters stating that he would have good reason to murder people upon his release. He also admitted to finding the act of murder enjoyable – he said it was ‘delicious, delicious, delicious’ to kill someone. His aunt was disturbed and didn’t know how to deal with her nephew’s sordid confessions. 

In 1994, Peter Lundin was invited to appear on a Danish talk show. For the interview, he painted half of his face black to symbolise the presence of good and evil. In a clip of this interview, he recites a poem of sorts, speaking English to the Danish reporter in his American accent, while he paints his face:

“I’m showing everybody:

If there’s a high, there’s a low

If there’s pleasure, there’s pain

If there’s insanity, there’s sane

If there’s silent, there’s tell

If there’s heaven, there’s hell”

The interview never aired in America, which most likely infuriated Peter who seemed to enjoy the attention. Swedish Psychiatrist and professor Sten Levander awarded Peter a 39 out of 40 points on the Psychopathy Checklist after viewing his interview. Peter demonstrated textbook psychopathic behaviour during the strange interview. 

After the interview aired in Denmark, he received a slew of letters from women and started corresponding with several of them on a regular basis. Upon receiving as much as 30 letters from different women, Peter manipulated some of the women into send him money. He said:

“My tactic was obviously direct. The first letters were about how I was doing. What my feelings were like. How hard it was to be in prison […] How much I longed for beautiful women. And then along the way I pretended that I fell in love with them. And asked them to send me some money. It was good business. I made them believe that I needed food, a lawyer, because I was treated badly, for the prison, anything.”

Lundin eventually married one of these women in 1996. Tina, a Danish woman, saw his interview on TV and fell in love. She flew from Denmark to North Carolina to marry her prison pen pal, not knowing that soon her husband would be with her.

In 1999, due to prison overcrowding, Peter was released after only serving 6 years of his 15-year sentence. He was deported back to Denmark as a free man. However, considered to be a dangerous and violent offender, four officers had to escort him on the flight to ensure the safety of the pilot and the crew. Yet, once in Denmark, the paroled convicted murderer and diagnosed psychopath, was released without supervision. Lundin was free to go about whatever business he pleased without any sort of supervision by Danish authorities. 

Ole was already back and living in Denmark, as he was deported from America after his release in 1994. 

Peter, realising how lucrative his ‘Romeo’ scheme was, remained in contact with most of the women who wrote to him while he was in prison. One of the women from his letters, reportedly sent him 30,000 krone that, according to Peter… 

“…went directly to new clothes and whores when I arrived in Demark with all my secret savings. I do not feel bad about that. She chose to do this herself.”

On his arrival in Denmark, Peter Lundin lived with his wife Tina and her teenage daughter. He later claimed he only married Tina so he would have a place to stay when he got out of jail. So, he wasn’t exactly committed to her or their relationship. 

In early 2000, the couple had a son named Nicholas. After only a few months of living with Tina, Peter violently attacked her and her teen daughter. Tina had had enough and told him to leave. He had nowhere to go and found a place in a men’s shelter. During this time, he became romantically acquainted with Marianne Pederson, whom he met at a massage clinic that doubled up as a brothel. 

Marianne and her late husband had opened the massage clinic years before, and when he passed away, she earned a living doing sex work. Marianne’s sons, Dennis and Brian were 12 and 10 years old. Dennis and Brian had a 24-year-old half-brother, Martin, Marianne’s stepson. 

Before long Lundin and Marianne were lovers, but just as their relationship began to grow, he moved back in with his wife, Tina. This didn’t mean he was done with Marianne, however, and kept seeing her behind Tina’s back.

On Monday the 3rd of July 2000, Marianne’s stepson, Martin, came to her house after he hadn’t heard from her in a while. On the door, he found the note that said the family would be out of town until the 28th of June. It was unlike Marianne to leave without telling anyone, and he found it strange that she would leave a note on the door like that. He left but could not shake the feeling that something was wrong. Two days later he returned and found a new note. This time it said they’d be out of town until July 28th. Dennis and Brian were supposed to be on a school camp, but Martin learnt that they never showed up. It was time to inform the police.

They arrived at Marianne’s apartment and forced their way in. The furniture was covered in plastic and the smell of cleaning product was evident. Someone had tried to conceal their mess, but either they were not quite done yet, or they didn’t manage to do it properly. Martin told police that Marianne always kept her house clean and tidy and would never have gone away leaving the furniture out of place.

On the surface, it wasn’t obvious that it was a murder scene, but on closer investigation, forensic investigators found blood stains in Marianne’s bed, in the bathroom, on a chopping board in the kitchen and inside her car. There was also a tremendous amount of blood evidence in the basement and in the garage. The conclusion was that Marianne, Dennis and Brian had all been murdered. 

Investigators learnt that Marianne and her sons were last seen at the end-of-schoolyear party at Dennis and Brian’s school on the 16th of June. At the party, she was seen having an argument with a man who spoke Danish with an American accent. It didn’t take police long to find out about Marianne’s quarrelsome boyfriend, Peter Lundin, and they tracked him down. On July 5th, 2000, he was arrested and charged with three counts of murder. His wife, Tina was also arrested because she had threatened Marianne at one point after finding out she was sleeping with her husband. 

Once in custody, Lundin claimed that he Marianne had taken her sons on vacation and that he had promised he would paint their house while they were away. When police confronted him about Marianne’s belongings at his home, he could not explain it. He had a lot of cash, a clipping from her passport containing her photo and signature as well as a loyalty card to a discount store called Metro. Police also found an axe with Marianne’s blood at Peter’s house. Her blood was found in her Ford Fiesta implying that Peter used her own vehicle to dispose of her body, or parts thereof. 

Faced with all the evidence against him, Peter told police what happened. He claimed that Marianne was high on drugs when he found her standing over the dead bodies of her two sons. When Peter saw that she had murdered them, he attacked her, and accidentally killed her. He realised that police wouldn’t believe him – because of his criminal record – and set out to clean up the scene. 

According to Peter, in order to cover up the murder, he dismembered all three bodies in the bathtub and showers. He cut and broke Marianne’s feet using knives from the kitchen. The bodies were packed in black plastic bags and dumped as waste. He made a trip to the store where he bought knives, cutting boards, cleaning products, and more black bags. Horrifying as the confession was, it contradicted forensic evidence – blood evidence indicated that one of the bodies was dismembered in the basement with an axe – in fact, on the floor they found over one hundred axe marks. The other two bodies were mutilated in the garage, using an angle grinder.

While Peter was cleaning up Marianne’s house, Tina called him and asked him to come home, so he threw some of the body parts in a bag and drove back to his house. Peter had left the note about the unplanned trip on the door because he knew Marianne’s father-in-law was due to visit in the coming days.

When he arrived home, he threw one of the black bags down the trash shoot, as witnessed by a neighbour. He returned to Marianne’s house on the Monday morning following the murders and was greeted with the pungent smell of human decay. So, he shoved them inside a freezer to preserve them until he could properly dispose of them. 

Then Peter went to his father Ole’s apartment, where he borrowed an angle grinder, saying that he was doing some painting and DIY jobs at Marianne’s house. He also purchased an axe to chop up the frozen corpses. He eventually got rid of the remaining body parts in a garbage container outside Ole’s place. 

As the police gathered more evidence against Lundin, he was urged to rethink his version of events. On October 10 – three months after he was arrested – he changed his story. He said that on June 16th he had an argument with Marianne. The fight had started at the party and continued on until they arrived back at Marianne’s house. He claimed he was mad because he had overheard her ‘talking sweetly’ to another man on the phone and he was overcome with jealousy. In the heat of the argument, he accidently broke her neck. 

According to his confession and reconstruction to the police, he broke Marianne’s neck when Dennis came into the room. The teenager tried to help his mother and pulled Lundin away by his hair. In reaction to this, Lundin turned his wrath on Dennis and broke his neck, just like his mother’s. Then Brian entered the room and a scuffle ensued, during which the 10-year-old bit Peter’s hand. Brian’s blood was found on the bed, leading police to think he managed to flee to the bedroom before being killed. 

Peter called the boys’ deaths “not dramatic,” and claimed the killing wasn’t brutal. Some news articles reported that Marianne had been unaware of Lundin’s dark, murderous past. Perhaps if she had known, she wouldn’t have become involved with him. We may never know what she would have done. 

In most murder cases, police have a body and need to find the killer. In the case of Lundin, they had a killer, but no bodies. And because they didn’t have the bodies, Lundin’s confession couldn’t be verified.

The Danish police reached out to North Carolina authorities to help piece together some of the events from Peter Lundin’s past in order to help with their investigation. The US Embassy in Copenhagen also assisted in the investigation. 

On March 15, 2001, after 10 days of court hearings, Peter Lundin was found guilty of triple murder and indecent handling of corpses. He was sentenced to life in prison, not a common occurrence in Denmark. This sentence is only reserved for the most serious crimes. Peter still insisted that it had all been a terrible accident, and no on bought it. His reputation preceded him, and soon after his arrival at prison, the killer was attacked by fellow inmates. 

Peter’s wife Tina was not charged with anything as police concluded she played no part in the murders. With Peter in prison, Tina commenced divorce proceedings. In 2008, Peter married his second wife, Mariann Poulsen. She was only 15 when she watched Peter’s interview on Danish television, and she became infatuated with him. She and wrote him letters while he was in prison, and they corresponded regularly for two years, until she was 17. 

Mariann eventually moved to Denmark from the Faroe Islands with her husband and daughter in 2006. Once there, she decided to pick up contact with Lundin, eager to meet with him at least one time in person. But as soon as she laid eyes on him, there was no turning back. She fell under his spell and agreed to visit him a second time. On her second visit, they had sex and she fell pregnant. When she learned about her pregnancy, she decided to have an abortion. But still, she could not stay away from Peter. They married in 2008, but the marriage only lasted eleven days. When she found out he was corresponding with multiple women, she ended the marriage. 

Poulsen confessed that her time with Peter Lundin ruined her entire life. Not only did her first marriage break up, but she also lost custody of her daughter.

Their brief affair did not affect Lundin in the least and he married for a third time in 2011, after corresponding with Betinna Brøns in 2009. They had a son in 2014 and stayed together until 2017. After the divorce, she told Danish media that the marriage was unpleasant. She revealed that she never wanted her son to see his father again, because of how he treated her.

Within the walls of Herstedvester Prison, which houses Denmark’s most notorious criminals, there have been over thirty marriages over the last ten years. According to a Danish interview with Lundin’s third wife, she only had to fill out a simple request form to gain access to meet with him in prison. Once they started developing their relationship, they were granted forty-seven hours a month alone together in a visiting apartment. Peter’s father and a mutual acquaintance were able to attend their wedding, which was conducted by a representative from Albertslund Municipality.  

Betinna has taken responsibility for her own lack of judgment in marrying a serial killer but believes that the Danish Prison system should have made it more difficult for her to become involved with an inmate. In an interview, she stated: 

“It is not the Danish Prison and Probation Service’s responsibility to take care of the vulnerable women, but to visit and initiate relationships with murders sentences to life is therefore too easy. […] They are in an extremely vulnerable situation when they choose to take such a violent step. What is needed is a restriction on the possibility of visits. This reduces the chance that women can be exploited by life-long murderers.” 

In another case, a 17-year-old pen pal wanted to marry journalist Kim Wall’s killer, Peter Madsen. The Danish government decided it was time to intervene. They passed a bill in September 2021, prohibiting prisoners serving a life sentence to have contact with strangers for the first 10 years of their incarceration. They are only to maintain contact with family and friends they knew before they went to prison. The hope is to curb the groupie-culture, or so-called Bundy-effect, associated with convicted killers.

Always the attention-craving chameleon, Peter Lundin changed his name several times during his imprisonment. For a while he was known as Bjarne Skounborg and then he changed it again, this time to Thomas Kristian Olesen. Whatever his name was, he did not get along with anyone, and he was quick to criticise the media. He filed lawsuits against two journalists for slander. When a journalist mentioned Lundin in an editorial piece, writing, "We are, basically, not clinical psychopaths in the Peter Lundin category," Lundin filed a lawsuit against them, but he didn’t succeed.

He also attempted to sue politician and Danish People’s Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard [kyahrsguard], for referring to Lundin as “callous” on a TV program. He didn’t win that lawsuit either, but he continued to prove to be a difficult and insufferable presence with the media. 

To this day, Peter insists that the murder of Marianne, Dennis, and Brain was an accident. Although he told the gruesome story of how he disposed of their remains, none of their bodies have ever been found. Unlike his mother Anne, their bodies may never be recovered. 

Peter Lundin is still serving a life sentence at the Institution of Herdstedvester in Denmark. His release from prison in 1999 resulted in the deaths of three more innocent people. His father Ole, who claimed not to have helped his son in cleaning up after the murders of Marianne, Dennis and Brian, was only charged with theft, because of Marianne’s belongings in his apartment. He received a total of six months in prison as punishment for his involvement. 

In an article titled “Is There an Other for the Psychopath,” author Kirsten Hyldgaard states:

“The very senselessness or meaninglessness of the murders is what is so intriguing, even compelling. Why does Lundin kill women? There is nothing in the killings that testifies to his ‘getting a kick out of it’. That is, he might be a sadist, nor did he profit from them. It is not a question of ‘instrumental violence’, as in cases where you kill in order to obtain or preserve something: money, a place in a hierarchy, life. Rather, it is as though he panics, as though he is overwhelmed by anxiety, and fights for his life like a ferocious animal.” 

Peter Lundin murdered four people in cold blood and demonstrated no clear remorse for their deaths. If he felt something, it all stemmed from how their deaths affected him. When he speaks of his mother, he expresses sadness on how the loss affected him, not how he ended the life of the woman who raised him. 

While in prison, Peter Lundin penned a memoir, and was aided by Danish journalist named Rikke Pedersen. A lot of the information we have now on this thoughts, motivation and cruel nature comes. In the book, titled A Murderer’s Confessions, Peter talks about his childhood, his mother, and about his life in prison. He uses it as a platform to express his side of the story. But the narrative is convoluted and contradictory to his past confessions and the hard evidence. The book demonstrates his depravity. He had one obsession, and that was with himself. He is a narcissist consumed with being wanted by women and being smarter than everyone else. 

He expresses no shame for his transgressions. He explains why he left a note on Marianne Pedersen’s door, saying they went on vacation. This, from his book: 

“I thought it sounded nicer. It would also have been a nicer thought of it had been announced that all people in concentration camps during the Second World War were being treated for illness. Or if a person you love dies in traffic, you would also rather learn that he or she had gone to China. It really is in everybody’s best interest.” 

He demonstrates a disconnect with reality and he serves no one but himself. While in prison Lundin read Nietzsche and Kierkegaard claiming he wanted to “find something to live and die for”. Eager to learn more about himself and the way others treated him, he obsessively read about psychology and pathology. 

The question remains: should Peter Lundin have been monitored after his arrival in Denmark? Authorities from both the United States and Denmark have faced criticism for the handling of Lundin’s transition from convicted killer to free man. Multiple journalists have pointed out a lack of judgment for allowing such privileges for a man who was rightfully convicted of murder. Why was he able to live in Denmark as a free man when he only served less than half of his prison sentence? 

Peter Lundin’s arrival in Denmark upon his release from prison in the US was not a typical case. When he arrived, he was a free man in the eyes of the law. Police do not keep tabs on every criminal who have completed their prison sentences. In this case, Lundin did not commit his first murder in Denmark, and was not punishable for it by Danish authorities. He was an American ex-convict with Danish citizenship. Unfortunately, three more people died before Lundin was locked up again.

Ask anyone in Denmark, and they’d be able to tell you who Peter Lundin is. This case caught the attention of the nation, because crimes like Lundin’s violent motiveless murders is extremely uncommon. In the last ten years, there have been less than 60 homicides per year in the entire country of Denmark. Peter Lundin is considered to be Denmark’s only serial killer ever. Hopefully, he remains the only one. 

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