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Crime

Danish submarine inventor loses appeal against life sentence for killing Swedish journalist Kim Wall

Judges agreed with prosecutor that the murder was Peter Madsen’s ‘sadistic, inhuman, sexual fantasy’ and he deserved maximum punishment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 10:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 10:35pm

Danish submarine inventor Peter Madsen, convicted of torturing and murdering Swedish reporter Kim Wall last year, lost his appeal against his life sentence on Wednesday, soon after he apologised to the victim’s family.

The 47-year-old listened quietly as Judge Jan Uffe Rasmussen read the ruling by the Eastern High Court. Rasmussen said the court had reached the same conclusion as Copenhagen City Court, which sentenced Madsen to life after convicting him of murder.

In Denmark, a life sentence is on average 16 years, but can be extended if necessary. Madsen, 47, wanted a time-limited sentence, not an open-ended prison term.

The prosecutor argued that the life sentence should be upheld, saying the motive was sexual and the crime planned.

“I’m terribly sorry to Kim’s relatives for what happened,” Madsen told the judges as he was given the last word. Ingrid and Joachim Wall, the reporter’s parents, were in the court.

Defending Madsen, lawyer Betina Hald Engmark argued her client “has a clean criminal record and alone has been convicted for one murder”.

“In comparable cases, the perpetrator often has committed moral crimes before,” she said.

Madsen denies murdering Wall, saying she died accidentally inside the submarine, but has confessed to throwing her body parts into the Baltic Sea.

The Copenhagen City Court in April convicted Madsen of murder, sexual assault and dismembering Wall. The court ruled unanimously that Madsen lured the 30-year-old onto his home-made submarine with the promise of an interview.

Prosecutor Kristian Kirk said Wall could not escape and “likely had begged for her life” while Madsen carried out “a sadistic ... inhuman, sexual fantasy”.

Kirk said violent videos of women being tortured and killed were found on Madsen’s computer, adding that he probably filmed the killing. He said Madsen had been planning the murder and “waited for a victim”.

“I hope we never will see such a case again,” Kirk told court.

No video of Wall’s murder has been found.

“Kim Wall walked directly into a death trap,” Kirk said. “I cannot see any other sentence than life.”

Wall worked as an intern and reporter for the South China Morning Post in 2013, covering news about China. Her work also appeared in The Guardian and The New York Times.