Danish inventor gets life sentence for killing, dismembering reporter

Court says Madsen murdered and then dismembered woman

COPENHAGEN A Danish court sentenced inventor Peter Madsen to life in prison yesterday for murdering and dismembering a Swedish journalist aboard his home-built submarine in Copenhagen harbour in August last year.

Madsen, dressed in black, sat completely still as his sentence was handed down in the Copenhagen City Court.

A life sentence in Denmark averages around 16 years.

Police detained him on Aug 11 last year when he emerged from his submarine without Ms Kim Wall, 30, who had boarded the vessel the previous day to do research on a story about Madsen.

Later that month, police identified a torso washed ashore in Copenhagen as Ms Wall's.

Arms, legs and a head determined to be that of the victim were also later retrieved by the authorities.

"After a total assessment, the court finds that the defendant murdered Kim Wall," Judge Anette Burkoe said.

The court decided that Madsen, 47, had "dismembered the body to conceal the evidence from the crime he had committed", she said.

The prosecutors had said Ms Wall died either by strangulation or having her throat cut.

Madsen admitted to dismembering the body and throwing it overboard, but he denied murdering Ms Wall.

He claimed Ms Wall died from breathing exhaust gases that had leaked into the submarine due to a technical error while he was on the deck preparing to submerge.

Forensics have not been able to back up his claim.

But the professional judge and two lay judges found the incriminating circumstances were enough to find Madsen guilty, including the gruesome videos he watched, and the fact that he brought a saw, plastic strips and a sharpened screwdriver on board.

Madsen will appeal the sentence, his lawyer told the court. - AFP, REUTERS