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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Danish inventor handed life sentence for killing journalist Kim Wall

Peter Madsen’s lawyer has said he will appeal the verdict.

The Nautilus is taken from the water last August.
The Nautilus is taken from the water last August.
Image: Ole Jensen - Corbis

Updated at 1pm 

A COPENHAGEN COURT has found Danish inventor Peter Madsen guilty of the premeditated murder and sexual assault of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his homemade submarine last year, handing him a life sentence.

Madsen, 47, had admitted chopping up the 30-year-old’s body and throwing her remains overboard in waters off Copenhagen on the night of 10 August, 2017, but claimed her death was accidental.

A life sentence in Denmark averages around 16 years.

Madsen, wearing a black t-shirt and blazer, stood in the courtroom to hear the verdict. As it was read out by the judge, he sat down next to his lawyer, visibly affected and dejected.

Madsen’s lawyer said he would appeal the verdict.

Wall, a freelance reporter, had set off with Madsen on his vessel on the evening of 10 August to interview him for a story she planned to write.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Madsen killed Wall as part of a dark sexual fantasy, stressing that he enjoyed watching videos of women being beheaded and tortured.

But Madsen, who changed his version of events several times, told the court she died when the air pressure suddenly dropped and toxic fumes filled his vessel as he was up on deck.

Despite the testimony of many experts, the lack of tangible evidence in the case and the decomposed state of Wall’s remains made it impossible to determine her exact cause of death.

An autopsy report said she probably died as a result of suffocation or having her throat slit.

But the professional judge and two lay judges found the incriminating circumstances were enough to find Madsen guilty, including the gruesome videos he watched, and the fact that he brought a saw, plastic strips and a sharpened screwdriver on board.

Psychiatric experts who evaluated Madsen — who described himself to friends as “a psychopath, but a loving one” — found him to be “a pathological liar” who poses “a danger to others” and who was likely to be a repeat offender.

Madsen is the 15th person in 10 years to receive a life sentence in the Nordic nation, which has a reputation as tranquil and safe.

© AFP 2018 

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