Danish inventor Peter Madsen was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday after he was found guilty of the brutal torture, murder and dismemberment of journalist Kim Wall aboard Madsen’s homemade submarine in 2017.
Judge Anette Burkoe at the Copenhagen City Court said she and the two jurors agreed Wall’s death was a murder, saying Madsen didn’t given “a trustworthy” explanation. In Denmark, a life sentence equates to 16 years, which can be extended if necessary.
Burkoe added it was the court’s opinion that Madsen “dismembered the body to conceal the evidence from the crime he had committed,” according to Sky News.
Madsen stood quietly listening as the judge read out the verdict, and later said he will appear the murder conviction and life sentence.
Wall, a 30-year-old freelance journalist, set out on the submarine on Aug. 10 to interview Madsen, the co-founder of a company that develops and builds manned spacecraft.
Her remains were found in plastic bags on the Baltic Sea bed weeks later.
The judge said Madsen’s crimes were committed in an especially “serious and brutal manner to a randomly chosen woman, who had accepted his offer to go on a trip in the submarine.”
After offering various explanations, including that toxic fumes caused Wall to suffocate, Madsen told the court that Wall died as a result of a buildup in pressure inside his UC3 Nautilus submarine. He admitted cutting Wall’s body into pieces after he was unable to lift her corpse upwards so he could bury her at sea.
Burkoe said Wednesday that Madsen’s explanation Kim Wall died in an accident “is not credible and is not consistent with the following decision to dismember the body.”
The 12-day trial that began on March 8 featured gruesome allegations made against the inventor, including that Madsen may have tied Wall up with her own stockings before he “impaled her,” and that he acted with a sexual motive.
Authorities have not determined a cause of death for Wall, but said her torso had been stabbed multiple times.
Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said during the trial that Wall’s dismembered torso had multiple stab wounds, including in the genitals, and that semen had been found in Madsen’s underwear.
Buch-Jepsen also said videos of women being tortured and killed were found on his personal computer — videos that he did not make himself. And Madsen had, according to the prosecution, brought along tools he normally didn’t take when sailing.
While arguing that Madsen is not insane, Buch-Jepsen quoted a court-ordered psychiatric report that described Madsen as “emotionally impaired with severe lack of empathy, anger and guilt” and having “psychopathic tendencies.”
Madsen’s lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, has described the incident as “a horror story” but that the prosecution case was based “on undocumented claims.” She said that Madsen did something “horrible” by cutting Wall into pieces, and that he should only be sentenced for that.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.