Monday 21 May 2018

Submarine inventor accused of murdering reporter could kill again, court told

Victim: Journalist Kim Wall was killed in August 2017. Photo: Getty
Victim: Journalist Kim Wall was killed in August 2017. Photo: Getty

Jan M Olsen

The prosecutor in the trial of a Danish inventor accused of torturing and murdering a Swedish journalist during a private submarine trip has said there is "a risk that he can commit the same kind of crime again".

Kim Wall may have been tied with her own stockings before Peter Madsen killed her, according to prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen, who added that the accused had acted with a sexual motive.

In his final comments to Copenhagen City Court, Mr Buch-Jepsen demanded that Madsen be given life in prison - 16 years in Denmark, which could be extended if necessary - or locked up in a secure mental facility for as long as he is considered a danger to others.

He said Madsen, who is accused of either cutting the throat of Ms Wall or strangling her, is not insane but "emotionally impaired with severe lack of empathy, anger and guilt".

Mr Buch-Jepsen also quoted a court-ordered psychiatric report which described Madsen as an intelligent man "with psychopathic tendencies".

Defence lawyer Betina Hald Engmark called the case "a horror story ... but the story is not based on facts, it is based on undocumented claims".

"It is not my client's duty to prove that he is innocent. It is the task of the prosecutor to prove that he is guilty," she told a packed courtroom.

Ms Wall's parents were among those in attendance.

Ms Hald Engmark said there was no doubt Madsen dismembered the body, but there was a lack of evidence proving he killed Ms Wall, reiterating his claim that her death was accidental.

The 47-year-old Dane said Ms Wall died because of a pressure problem in his home-made submarine. Mr Buch-Jepsen retorted that "forensic experts have found nothing" backing that claim.

Madsen, who himself told court that he was "a promiscuous person", has admitted to dismembering Ms Wall's body before he "buried her at sea", saying he could not lift her up the submarine tower in one piece to throw her overboard, meaning he had to cut her up.

Ms Wall, a 30-year-old freelance journalist who wrote for The New York Times, The Guardian and other publications, set out on the submarine on August 10 to interview Madsen, the co-founder of a company that develops and builds manned spacecraft.

Her remains were found in plastic bags on the Baltic Sea bed weeks later. Her torso had been stabbed multiple times.

The cause of Ms Wall's death has not been established.

The 12-day trial started on March 8, and a verdict is expected on Wednesday.

Press Association

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