Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor, has been convicted of premeditated killing in the death of Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist. The trial was heard by a three-person panel who convicted him unanimously of the crimes. The court in Copenhagen sentenced him to life in prison.
The case was one of the most horrific and closely examined in Scandinavian history. Madsen and his lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, said that he would appeal the verdict. There is a deadline of May 9 to file an appeal with the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen.
Wall, who lived in Copenhagen, was last seen alive on Aug. 10. That day, Wall met Madsen at his submarine, the UC3 Nautilus, to interview him about the vessel. Wall, a freelance journalist, had written for many publications, including The New York Times, and was interested in writing about the process of building the submarine.
Together, they departed from the dock on what was supposed to be a two-hour excursion. The submarine sank the next day and Madsen was rescued, but Wall was nowhere to be found. Her mutilated remains were found in the waters near Copenhagen over the next several weeks.
The inventor admitted to dismembering the journalist and discarding her body in the water from the submarine he built. However, the defense lawyer claimed that there was no clear evidence that Wall had been murdered. Investigators were unable to establish the cause of her death. He claimed that she had died in an accident aboard the submarine.
Prosecutors said Madsen bound, tortured, sexually assaulted and stabbed Wall repeatedly. The evidence of premeditation in the crimes, which included Madsen’s history of researching murder and dismemberment, was a factor in the conviction. Evidence also showed that he brought the tools used to subdue and kill Wall onto the submarine, along with heavy objects like pipes to weigh down her remains.
A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of Madsen diagnosed him as a narcissistic psychopath. Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen asked the court to sentence him to the maximum possible punishment, life in prison. Buch-Jepsen said in his closing argument, “Peter Madsen is not normal. He is a danger to society.”
The presiding judge, Anette Burko, read the verdict in Copenhagen City Court. Madsen sat still, his face slightly flushed, wearing a black T-shirt, a black blazer, and light gray pants at the defense table as the sentence was read. Even with the life sentence, Madsen could be considered for release in as little as 12 years.