Europe

Kim Wall death: Danish prosecutors say murder was planned

A composite showing the submarine Nautilus and missing reporter Kim Wall Image copyright AFP
Image caption Kim Wall went missing after boarding Peter Madsen's submarine

Danish prosecutors have charged inventor Peter Madsen with murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall and will attempt to have him jailed for life.

Her dismembered remains were found at sea on 21 August last year, 11 days after she interviewed him aboard his homemade submarine.

Prosecutors accuse him of having planned the crime, either suffocating her or cutting her throat.

He admits dismembering her body but denies intentionally killing her.

What do we know of Ms Wall's disappearance?

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kim Wall boarded Peter Madsen's submarine Nautilus on the evening of 10 August

The 30-year-old was last seen alive on the evening of 10 August as she departed with Mr Madsen on his self-built 40-tonne submarine, UC3 Nautilus. She was researching a story about his venture.

Her boyfriend raised the alarm the next day when she did not return from the trip. Mr Madsen was rescued at sea after his submarine sank the same day. Police believe he deliberately scuttled the vessel.

The journalist's mutilated torso was spotted by a passing cyclist on 21 August but her head, legs and clothing, placed in weighted-down bags, were not discovered by police divers until 6 October.

Ms Wall had had a long career in journalism, having previously reported from North Korea, the South Pacific, Uganda and Haiti, writing for the New York Times, Guardian, Vice and the South China Morning Post.

What do prosecutors say?

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The prosecutor asked for Mr Madsen to be held in custody until his trial

The suspect has been charged with premeditated murder and dismemberment, and also "sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature".

"This is a very unusual and extremely brutal case," prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said in a statement.

"We hope the media will respect that further evidence in the case must be presented in court and not in the press."

What does the suspect say happened?

He has changed his account several times.

Initially, he said he had dropped Kim Wall off safely in Copenhagen but the 46-year-old later changed his story to say there had been a "terrible accident", that he had "buried her at sea" and planned afterwards to take his own life by sinking his submarine.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Peter Madsen denies the murder and sexual assault charges

As to the exact cause of death, Mr Madsen told police she had died when a heavy hatch on the submarine fell on her head.

However, he later changed this and maintained she had been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning inside the submarine while he was up on deck.

After initially denying cutting up her body, he then admitted dismembering it and dumping the body parts in the sea.

When will the trial begin?

It has been called for 8 March and a verdict is expected in April.

A life sentence in Denmark typically means around 15-17 years in prison without parole, news agencies report.

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