A Danish submarine inventor has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall.
Peter Madsen is accused of torturing and murdering the 30-year-old and dismembering and disposing of her body during a submarine trip in August last year.
Madsen initially told authorities he had dropped Ms Wall off on a Copenhagen island several hours after she boarded to interview the inventor.
But he later claimed Ms Wall had died accidentally inside his submarine while he was on deck, a story he repeated during the murder trial on Thursday.
Asked why he had repeatedly changed his story, Madsen said he had initially been “in total denial of what had happened” and “I didn’t wish to share with the whole world how Kim Wall died.”
Madsen admitted to dismembering Ms Wall and throwing her body parts into the sea. He is accused of tying her up and torturing her before he either cut her throat or strangled her.
Her torso was found on a southern Copenhagen shoreline in late August. Her head, legs and clothes were discovered in bags at sea in October and November, along with heavy metal objects designed to take them to the ocean floor.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said a psychiatric report of 47-year-old Madsen found him to be an intelligent man “with psychopathic tendencies” who has “no empathy or feelings of guilt”.
Detectives found videos and texts about killing women on Madsen’s laptop and an external hard drive. Mr Buch-Jepsen also showed the court underpants and pantyhose – both damaged – and pieces of hair.
Madsen’s submarine was submerged for several hours on the fatal night when Ms Wall disappeared, was invisible to radar and didn’t immediately respond to attempts to make radio contact, the court heard.
When reached over radio, Madsen said he had let Ms Wall off on Refshale island several hours into the trip. Madsen also said over the radio that there were no injured persons on board but only technical problems. Shortly after, Madsen reported “man overboard” over the radio. He was picked up alone.
After he was arrested on land, forensic experts found dried blood on Madsen’s nose, “blood that eventually was proven to belong to Kim Wall”, said prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen.
The prosecution claims Ms Wall’s murder was premeditated because Madsen brought along tools he normally didn’t take when sailing.
Ms Wall’s parents were present on Thursday for the opening of the trial at Copenhagen City Court. The trial ends on 25 April.
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