Copenhagen: Danish inventor Peter Madsen received a life sentence on Wednesday for the gruesome murder of a Swedish journalist on his submarine, but immediately launched an appeal.
“We are very satisfied with the Copenhagen city court’s ruling,” prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen told reporters after the guilty verdict was announced. “The law’s stiffest punishment has been handed down, a life sentence,” he added.
Buch-Jepsen said journalist Kim Wall was “an innocent victim, a journalist who was doing her work.”
The prosecution had previously called for a life sentence for Madsen, while his defence attorney countered that the 47-year-old should serve six months at most, citing lack of evidence.
Defence lawyer Betina Hald Engmark, who announced the appeal against the conviction and the sentence, said she had no further comment as she left the court, adding she wanted to read the ruling in detail.
Madsen has admitted to dismembering and dumping journalist Kim Wall’s body at sea in August but denies killing her, saying she died of suffocation onboard due to an accident. He has been in pretrial detention since August 12.
The three-strong panel, comprising Judge Anette Burko and two lay jurors, was unanimous, Burko said.
“It was a cynical and planned sexual assault and murder that was exceptionally brutal,” Burko read.
They also ruled that Madsen had dismembered Wall’s body in order to hide the acts he had committed.
Madsen was also convicted of dismembering Wall’s body and sexual abuse, the ruling said.
The ruling said that Madsen’s accounts had not been credible, including his reasons for changing his version of events several times.
Madsen initially said Wall died after being hit by a heavy submarine hatch, but later said she died of suffocation on the vessel.
The ruling also cited how Madsen had planned the crime as he brought tools, including a saw, screwdrivers and plastic strips, onboard the submarine shortly before sailing with Wall. It also cited forensic results and that there were signs Wall had been stabbed while still alive — contradicting Madsen’s explanation that he stabbed the torso to prevent it from floating to the surface. — dpa