Danish inventor Peter Madsen was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for murdering and dismembering a Swedish journalist on his submarine in 2017, reported Reuters.
The Copenhagen City Court found 47-year-old Madsen guilty on all main charges – premeditated murder, aggravated sexual assault and desecrating a corpse, reported The Guardian. “There is clear evidence that the accused has shown an interest in killing and dismembering people,” Judge Anette Burkø said. The judge termed the crime “a cynical and planned sexual murder of a severe brutal nature against a random woman.”
Journalist Kim Wall was researching for a story on Madsen’s self-made submarine, Nautilus, and took up an invitation to travel with him aboard the vessel, reported the BBC. She was last seen on August 10, 2017, as she departed with Madsen. The next day, Wall’s boyfriend alerted the police when she did not return from the trip. Meanwhile, Madsen was rescued after his submarine sank. On August 21, a cyclist spotted a torso on the shore of Klydesoen to the south of Copenhagen which the police identified as Wall.
After Madsen was detained, he gave conflicting versions. First, he said he had left her safely ashore, then claimed that Wall died when a hatch cover accidentally fell on her head. Later, Madsen said the journalist died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on board. He also admitted to dismembering Wall’s body, which he had denied earlier.
Madsen’s lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, said that he would appeal against the verdict. He has until May 9 to file an appeal with the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen, reported The New York Times.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen had asked for the maximum possible sentence, life in prison, which is rare in Denmark, even in murder cases, according to The New York Times. “Peter Madsen is not normal,” Buch-Jepsen had argued. “He is a danger to [the] society.”
A forensic psychiatric report had described Madsen a “perverse polymorph” with “psychopathic traits”, according to The Guardian.