Danish inventor denies journo murder as trial opens | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 09, 2018

Danish inventor denies journo murder as trial opens

Danish inventor Peter Madsen on Thursday denied murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall aboard his self-built submarine last year as his highly-anticipated trial opened in Copenhagen.

Madsen, who has previously admitted dismembering Wall's body and throwing her remains overboard, did not address the court but his lawyer Betina Hald Engmark said he denied the murder charge and maintained his position that the reporter died accidentally on board his submarine.

Wearing a black t-shirt, jeans and black eyeglasses, Madsen appeared calm in court, his gaze often looking downwards.

The trial, scheduled to last until April 25, is expected to shed more light on the circumstances of Wall's grisly death on board Madsen's Nautilus submarine on August 10, 2017, when she vanished after going for an evening sail with him to interview him for an article.

Her chopped up body parts, weighed down in plastic bags with metal objects, were later recovered from Danish waters off Copenhagen.

More than 100 journalists from around the world were in place to follow the opening day of the trial at the Copenhagen district court, also attended by members of Wall's family.

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen started by presenting his opening arguments to the court. He has previously said he will call for a life sentence, which in Denmark averages around 16 years.

An eccentric semi-celebrity in Denmark who built rockets and dreamed of developing private space travel, Madsen faces charges of premeditated murder, desecrating a corpse, and aggravated sexual assault.

Wall was reported missing by her boyfriend after she failed to return home from her trip on the 60-foot (18-metre) vessel on August 10, 2017.

On that evening, the couple were having a going-away party -- they were due to move to China a few days later -- when Madsen, whom she had been trying to interview, contacted her and invited her out on the sub.

On a large screen in the courtroom, the prosecutor showed a series of text messages Wall sent her boyfriend from inside the submarine that evening.

"I'm still alive btw (by the way)," she wrote, adding "But going down now!" and "I love you!!!!!!"

A minute later, she added: "He brought coffee and cookies tho."

Madsen has changed his version of what happened on board several times. He has insisted her death was an accident but provided no explanation.

An autopsy was unable to determine her cause of death, nor has a motive been established.

But prosecutors have previously said they believe Madsen killed Wall as part of a sexual fantasy.

They believe he bound the 30-year-old freelance reporter by the head, arms and legs before beating her and stabbing her repeatedly in her genital area.

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