Killer’s eerie text message to his wife
DANISH engineer Peter Madsen will spend the rest of his life in prison for murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall in his homemade submarine last year.
Madsen, 47, was today found guilty of murder, dismemberment and indecent handling of a body after a harrowing 12 day trial in Copenhagen City Court.
The Danish inventor will now spend at least 16 years in prison - the amount of years a life sentence is in Denmark - after judge Anette Burkoe announced the guilty verdict.
Madsen listened quietly as the judge read out the verdict and said her and the two jurors agreed Wall's death was a murder because Madsen could not offer a "trustworthy" explanation.
Madsen claimed Wall died when the air pressure in his submarine suddenly dropped and toxic fumes filled the homemade vessel while he was on deck.
An autopsy has never been able to confirm Wall's cause of death.
The court heard last month that Madsen sent a text message to his wife just 20 minutes after Wall died.
"I am on an adventure on the [submarine] Nautilus. All is well. Sailing in calm seas and moonlight. Not diving. Kisses and hugs to the cats," the text message read.
Madsen said the text was a "farewell" to his now wife as he considered suicide after Wall's death.
Instead Madsen laid next to Wall's body for a couple of hours before deciding to dismember it.
Evidence did show Madsen bound the journalist around her head, arms and legs before beating and stabbing her repeatedly in her genital area.
She was also stabbed multiple times in her torso.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen previously claimed Wall's murder was sexually motivated and premeditated because Madsen brought along tools he normally didn't take when sailing including a saw and sharpened screwdrivers.
Mr Buch-Jepsen sought a life sentence for Madsen.
Madsen's defence lawyer previously said he should only be sentenced for cutting Wall into pieces.
Betina Hald Engmark, the lawyer for Madsen, said she will appeal his murder conviction and life sentence.
The court ruled that Madsen should stay in jail until his appeal hearing at the Western High Court in Copenhagen out of fear Madsen can influence witnesses.
During the trial, the prosecution team painted Madsen as a sexual sadist, showing the court videos found on his hard drive of violent sex and women being beheaded and impaled.
Madsen admitted to the court he occasionally filmed his sexual encounters with women with an action camera mounted on his forehead but said the graphic videos on his hard drive were there because other people had access to it.
Last month, on the first day of his trial, Madsen spoke about how he had chopped up the Swedish journalist's body before tossing her into the ocean.
Madsen claimed he slept next to her lifeless body for two hours, thinking about killing himself before deciding what to do next.
"I don't see how that mattered at that time, as she was dead," Madsen said with a small grin, when asked why he opted to dismember Wall.
Madsen said he already knew how to amputate limbs "to save lives" - so cutting her up was no problem.
"I tried first with an arm, and that went very fast … It went very fast, and I got her out of the submarine," he said.
HOW THE INVESTIGATION UNFOLDED
The case has gripped Denmark ever since Wall failed to return from a trip on Madsen's self-built Nautilus submarine on August 10 last year.
Kim Wall was working as a freelance reporter in August 2017 when she set sail from the port of Copenhagen just before 7pm in the UC3 Nautilus - a submarine built by the once-celebrated inventor Madsen.
She'd told her boyfriend she was doing a piece for Wired Magazine on the famous submarine Madsen had built purely through crowd funding.
When she hadn't returned by the early hours of the morning, he reported her missing.
Madsen was arrested two days after Wall went missing and was originally charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The inventor gave authorities conflicting stories about his interaction with Wall.
He originally claimed he'd dropped her off on a Copenhagen island but then said a heavy hatch on the submarine had fallen onto her head and killed her. He'd eventually settle on a suggestion that carbon monoxide poisoning had been to blame.
Madsen had been rescued from his submarine 14 hours after it pulled away from the docks with Wall on board.
He told rescuers he'd been unable to close a hatch which caused it to flood and sink in 7m of water.
But police decided to salvage the 18m vessel and found it had in fact been sabotaged and blood was inside.
Madsen then changed his story about dropping Wall off and said she'd had an accident at sea.
"I try to explain to Kim through the hatch how to stop the necessary engines, for five to 15 minutes I try to get in to her," he said.
"When I finally manage to open the hatch, a warm cloud hits my face. I find her lifeless on the floor, and I squat next to her and try to wake her up, slapping her cheeks."
But on August 21, more than a week after Wall disappeared, a naked female torso missing its head and limbed washed ashore.
DNA tests confirmed it was Wall's body and the inventor was charged with murder.
By October, Danish divers discovered Wall's head and legs, weighed down by metal objects and sealed in plastic bags, around Copenhagen.
A knife and some of Wall's clothes were also found in bags.
Life in prison in Denmark means 16 years but the sentence can be extended as long as the person is deemed dangerous.
Alternatively, he could be locked up in a secure mental facility if deemed necessary by psychiatrists, for as long as he's considered sick and a danger to others.
- With Wires