Danish court upholds life sentence for submarine murderer Peter Madsen | News | DW | 05.09.2018
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Danish court upholds life sentence for submarine murderer Peter Madsen

A Danish court has rejected the appeal by the submarine murderer Peter Madsen, who was given a life sentence for killing the Swedish reporter Kim Wall. Madsen denies killing Wall, but admits to mutilating her corpse.

Peter Madsen lost the appeal against his life sentence on Wednesday before a Danish court, months after he was found guilty of the torture, sexual assault, murder and dismemberment of the Swedish reporter Kim Wall, who had come to interview him on his homemade submarine.

The 47-year-old Madsen claims that Wall's death was an accident but admits to dismembering her body and throwing it in the Baltic Sea. On Wednesday, he apologized to the reporter's family.

"I'm terribly sorry to Kim's relatives for what happened," Madsen told the panel of judges as he was given the last word.

Madsen's lawyer had argued that he had "a clean criminal record and alone was convicted for one murder."

The appeals court did not consider the guilty verdict passed by a different Copenhagen court in April. Instead, the panel only confirmed the life sentence passed by the lower court. In Denmark, a life sentence is about 16 years on average, but it can be extended if deemed necessary.

The 47-year-old had appealed for a time-limited sentence rather than an open-ended term.

Peter Madsen (Imago)

Madsen was found guilty of torture, sexual assault, murder and dismemberment

In his closing statement, prosecutor Kristian Kirk said there were "no mitigating circumstances" and described Madsen as "cynical" and "perverted."

"A life sentence is the only option," Kirk said.

'Psychopathic tendencies'

Madsen used the premise of an interview to lure Wall, 30, onto his homemade submarine in August 2017, the Copenhagen City Court unanimously ruled.

The court said the murder was premeditated and sexually motivated, with the prosecution using Madsen's shifting explanations against him. They also quoted a court-ordered psychiatric report that described him as "emotionally impaired with severe lack of empathy, anger and guilt" and having "psychopathic tendencies."

Earlier this month, Madsen's lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, told the appeals court that the prosecution's case was based "on undocumented claims." 

"My client is not satisfied with the sentence. That's why we are here — not to find out whether he is guilty or not," Engmark said.

She said Madsen clearly did something "horrible" by cutting Wall into pieces. However, she argued that he should only be sentenced for that, noting that the cause of death has never been established. Under Danish law, indecent handling of a corpse carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

dj/kms (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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