Danish submarine inventor loses sentencing appeal for murdering reporter Kim Wall

In Denmark, a life sentence equates to 16 years on average, but can be extended.

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By Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish submarine inventor Peter Madsen, convicted of torturing and murdering Swedish reporter Kim Wall last year, lost his appeal against his life sentence Wednesday, shortly after he apologized to the victim's family.

Madsen listened quietly as judge Jan Uffe Rasmussen read out the ruling by the Eastern High Court. Rasmussen said the high court had reached the same conclusion as the Copenhagen City Court, which sentenced Madsen to life in April after convicting him of murder.

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

Image: Danish submarine owner and inventor Peter Madsen
Danish submarine owner and inventor Peter Madsen after landing with the help of the Danish defense in Dragor Harbor south of Copenhagen, Denmark, on Aug. 11, 2017.Bax Lindhart / EPA file

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

Madsen stood up to hear the sentence and was motionless as Rasmussen read out the ruling.

Prosecutor Kristian Kirk was satisfied with the ruling.

"It is a case of a completely unusual severity," he told reporters.

Defense lawyer Betina Hald Engmark told reporters they may appeal to the Supreme Court, although no decision has yet been taken.

Madsen apologized to Wall's family before the ruling was read out.

Image: Swedish journalist Kim Wall
Swedish journalist Kim Wall.Courtesy Tom Wall / via AFP - Getty Images file

"I'm terribly sorry to Kim's relatives for what happened," Madsen said. Ingrid and Joachim Wall, the reporter's parents, were present in court.

Defense lawyer Betina Hald Engmark had argued that 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 the dismemberment of Wall. The court ruled unanimously that Madsen had lured Wall, 30, onto his homemade submarine with the promise of an interview.

During the appeals trial, Kirk said Wall "likely had begged for her life" while Madsen carried out "a sadistic, yes inhuman, sexual fantasy."

The submarine UC3 Nautilus of Danish inventor Peter Madsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 7, 2018.
The submarine UC3 Nautilus of Danish inventor Peter Madsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 7, 2018.Dorothee Thiesing / AP file

Kirk said violent videos in which women were tortured and killed were found on Madsen's computer, and said he likely filmed the killing. He added Madsen had been planning the murder and "just waited for a victim."

"I hope we never will see such a case again," Kirk told the court.

No video of Wall's murder has been found.

"Kim Wall walked directly into a death trap," Kirk said before looking up at Madsen, who listened with his hands on the table: "I can't see any other sentence than life."

The cause of Wall's death hasn't been established.

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