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The gruesome Danish submarine killing case: a timeline

By AFP

Added 25th April 2018 05:01 PM

The eccentric "inventrepreneur" had argued her death was an accident, but admitted chopping up her body and tossing it into the sea.

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The eccentric "inventrepreneur" had argued her death was an accident, but admitted chopping up her body and tossing it into the sea.

DENMARK - A Copenhagen court on Wednesday sentenced Danish inventor Peter Madsen to life in prison for the premeditated murder and sexual assault of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on board his homemade submarine in August 2017.

The eccentric "inventrepreneur" had argued her death was an accident, but admitted chopping up her body and tossing it into the sea.

Here are the main events in the grisly case that has captivated the world:

The interview

Kim Wall, a 30-year-old freelance reporter criss-crossing the globe for unique, quirky stories, boards self-taught engineer Peter Madsen's homemade submarine, the UC3 Nautilus, in a Copenhagen harbour on August 10, 2017, to interview him for a story.

But she never returns. Wall's boyfriend, with whom she had planned to move to China, reports her as missing on August 11.

The Nautilus is found that same day, sinking, as Madsen, 47, is rescued from the water.

The well-known figure in Denmark tells authorities he dropped Wall off in the harbour the night before and that a technical problem caused the vessel to sink.

But the Danish authorities are not convinced. Madsen is detained for negligent manslaughter under particularly aggravating circumstances on August 12.

'Buried at sea'

Madsen changes his story on August 21 and says Wall died in an accident onboard his vessel and that he subsequently "buried her at sea in an undefined location of the Koge Bay" south of Copenhagen.

Two days later, Copenhagen police confirm that a headless torso found in Koge Bay is Wall's. The head and limbs had been deliberately cut off. The torso had been attached to a metal object to weigh it down.

Madsen is charged with indecent handling of a corpse during a police hearing on August 24. He insists she died in an accident when a hatch hit her on the head while onboard the vessel. 

Prosecutors also reveal autopsy results which show Wall was stabbed 14 times in her genital area and once in the chest before her death.

Forensic results show no sign of a fracture on her skull.

'Brought a saw'

Danish divers find both of Wall's arms on November 21 and 29, respectively, near the same area where her other body parts were discovered.

A January 24 charge sheet says Madsen tied Wall up by the head, arms and legs before beating, "stabbing and cutting her".

Prosecutors say Madsen "brought a saw, knife, sharpened screwdriver, straps, strips and pipes" on board the vessel with the intention of killing Wall.

Neither the cause of death nor the motive has been established, but investigators believe Wall was suffocated or had her throat cut as part of a sadistic sex crime.

'Psychopathic traits'

Described by psychiatrists as a "perverse polymorph" with "psychopathic traits", Madsen has changed his story several times about how Wall died.

After the autopsy report revealed no blunt trauma to her head, Madsen said she died from toxic fumes that filled the vessel after a sudden drop in pressure while he was up on deck.

He maintains this argument throughout the trial. He rejects the charge of premeditated murder, but admits to desecrating a corpse.

A coroner testifies that Wall's lungs showed no sign of fume inhalation. But under cross-examination, she can not totally rule out Madsen's scenario, because of the torso's decomposed state after being submerged for 10 days.

The court is shown several animated and so-called snuff films found on the hard drive of Madsen's computer, of women being impaled, hanged and beheaded.

While the prosecutor calls for a life term for premeditated murder, Madsen's defence urges the court to acquit him on the murder and sexual assault charges, but admits to the charge of desecrating a corpse.

The court finds him guilty of all three charges and sentences him to a life term, Denmark's heaviest sentence which averages around 16 years. 

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