Danish inventor Peter Madsen, 47, has been sentenced to spend his life in prison for the murder of Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall, 30.
Wall, who had been published in The New York Times, Time, and the Guardian, had accepted an invitation from Madsen to interview him on his homemade submarine. The journalist was last seen, waving to shore from the submarine’s hatch, on August 10, 2017.
Judge and jurors unanimously voted to convict Madsen of premeditated murder, “sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature,” and defilement of a corpse.
Judge Anette Burkoe stated:
“It is the court’s assessment that the defendant killed Kim Wall. We are talking about a cynical and planned sexual assault and brutal murder of a random woman, who in connection with her journalistic work had accepted an offer to go sailing in the defendant’s submarine.”
As part of his trial process, Madsen underwent a mental evaluation, which found that he is “dangerous, has psychopathic traits, appears unfeeling and untrustworthy, suffers from lack of empathy and is highly sexually deviant.”
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen showed evidence in court of Madsen’s sexual interest in the torture and death of women. Among Madsen’s possessions were found over 100 videos, cartoons, and written texts depicting the murder, torture, and impaling of women, some of them appearing to be authentic. The prosecution was able to show that the night before Wall’s death, Madsen played on his phone a video of a girl having her throat slit.
Madsen has always claimed innocence for Wall’s death, but has admitted to dismembering her corpse and dumping her body parts in the sea. First he explained that Wall had accidentally been hit on the head with the heavy hatch of the submarine, and perished. “It was a terrible accident, a disaster, no doctor could have done anything,” Madsen said. Then, because he “didn’t want a dead body in my submarine,” he disposed of her body in the ocean.
Later, he changed his story to claim that Wall’s death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. No matter which excuse Madsen goes with, the medical examiners determined that Wall died from either being strangled or having her throat cut.
He plans to appeal his sentence.
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Main photo: Peter Madsen in 2010, cofounder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, with the payload section of the manned rocket they are going to launch into space [Wikimedia Commons/flickr]