A court in Denmark will deliver the verdict today in a horrific murder case which has gripped and shocked a nation.
Danish inventor Peter Madsen faces a life sentence if found guilty of the mutilation and murder of 30-year-old Swedish journalist Kim Wall.
Her dismembered body was discovered in a bay near Copenhagen last year. She had gone missing after accepting Madsen’s invitation for a short voyage on his home-made submarine.
The 11-day trial, spread over seven weeks, heard some truly horrific detail as the prosecution laid out its case against Mr Madsen who denies murder and sexual assault but admits dismembering her body.
The prosecution alleges that he asked Ms Wall on to his miniature submarine so that he could fulfil the most vile and violent of sexual fantasies.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jensen told the court that he believed Madsen had strangled or beheaded Ms Wall after torturing her inside his submarine.
The judge and two lay judges, who must decide on the verdict, watched as the prosecution showed images of her mutilated body and played a selection of more than 140 internet video clips found on Madsen’s computer and iPhone.
The online “snuff videos” depicted the murder, torture, beheading and impalement of women.
The court also heard that on the night Ms Wall is known to have died, he had googled the words “beheading” and “girl” and then watched a clip of a woman having her throat slit.
“There is no doubt that he murdered Kim Wall on purpose and that he had a sexual motive,” the prosecutor said.
“It is uncertain whether Peter Madsen murdered Kim Wall by strangulation or cutting of the throat, but there is nothing that sows doubt about whether he killed Kim Wall on purpose.”
A post-mortem examination of Ms Wall’s remains revealed that she had been stabbed multiple times in the genitals.
Marks on her wrist and ankles showed she had been strapped to pipes inside the vessel, the prosecution alleged.
Mr Buch-Jensen also revealed the conclusion of a court-ordered psychiatric report on Madsen, which described the defendant being “intelligent, emotionally impaired with a severe lack of empathy, anger and guilt… and with psychopathic tendencies”.
Kim Wall was a freelance journalist with a bright future. Her work had already been published in The Guardian, The New York Times, Vice and Time Magazine.
She had travelled to remote corners of the world and was attracted by off-beat, under reported and sometimes quirky stories.
At the time of her murder, she was living with her boyfriend near Peter Madsen’s workshop in a disused Copenhagen shipyard.
She had heard about the eccentric inventor who is a minor celebrity in Denmark. His home-made sub and quest to build the first ever amateur rocket capable of taking him to space made him an attractive subject for a story.
She had contacted him months earlier asking for an interview. On 10 August last year, out of the blue, he replied. He accepted the interview request and invited her aboard his submarine that evening.
Despite having organised her own leaving party that same evening before a move to Beijing, she agreed to board the vessel with him.
Early the following morning, she had failed to return home and her boyfriend reported her missing.
Hours later, Mr Madsen was rescued from his sinking submarine in a bay south of the Danish capital. Ms Wall was not with him.
He claimed initially that he had dropped her off at a jetty as planned the previous evening. However his story then changed several times.
First he said she had died in an accident when she hit her head on the submarine’s hatch and he had decided to bury her at sea.
However his explanation changed again when parts of her body were discovered weighed down on the Baltic Sea bed.
The parts included her head which showed no signs of an injury consistent with a blow to the skull.
He then claimed she had died of exhaust fume poisoning inside the vessel while he was outside on its deck.
But the forensic pathologist found no indication of such poisoning.
In court, he admitted dismembering her body, calling it a “very very traumatic event which I do not want to describe”.
But he later calmly explained that he dismembered her in order to be able to lift the body out through the vessel’s narrow hatch.
“What do you do when you have a big problem?” he told the court. “You divide it into something smaller.”
He had decided to dismember and dispose of her body, he said, party because he had panicked and partly to spare Ms Wall’s family of the knowledge that she had died of exhaust fumes.
However the forensic pathologist determined that some of Ms Wall’s wounds were inflicted while she was alive or very shortly after she had died. Madsen had said he dismembered her many hours later.
“He had fresh scratches on both forearms and dried blood under his left nostril. The blood belonged to Kim Wall,” the prosecutor told the court.
Asked about the snuff videos on his computer, Madsen said it was no different from watching a horror film.
“It’s as crazy as the movie you’ve seen, Seven. It’s the same as films you’ve seen, Jakob.” he said to the prosecutor.
Madsen’s defence lawyer, Bettina Hale Engmark, has capitalised on the prosecution’s inability to determine exactly how Ms Wall died.
“It is not my client’s duty to prove that he is innocent. It is the task of the prosecutor to prove that he is guilty,” she told the court, arguing that the prosecution details were “not based on facts”.
In summing up on Monday, the prosecutor told Copenhagen City Court that Madsen, 47, should be given a life sentence, which is usually an average of 16 years in Denmark.
But should Madsen receive a sentence of 16 years or less, Mr Buch-Jepsen argued that the defendant to be placed in “forvaring”, or safe custody – a sentence with no definite time limit.
Retslaegeradet, Denmark’s leading medical authority, told the court that Mr Madsen “poses such a significant and immediate danger to other people’s life, body, health or freedom that the use of custody may be required to prevent this danger”.
However in her closing remarks, Ms Engmark argued that the prosecution had not proved murder and that a six month jail term would be a fair sentence for dismembering Ms Wall’s body.
After her death, Ms Wall’s family and friends set up a fund in her memory raising money to help fund young female freelance reporters.
Her parents are expected to be in court today.
From – SkyNews