The trial of Danish inventor Peter Madsen has begun in Copenhagen Thursday, with the suspect pleading not guilty to murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall last year.
Madsen is accused of sexually assaulting, torturing, and murdering Wall after she boarded his private, home-built submarine for an interview on Aug. 10. The suspect is also facing charges for indecent handling of a corpse, after the victim’s dismembered body parts were found separately several days after her disappearance.
According to the indictment, Madsen stabbed the victim multiple times before killing her. He then cut off her head, arms, and legs and tied her body parts to pipes using plastic cable ties before tossing them into the sea.
Wall’s headless torso washed up on Aug. 21 on an island near Copenhagen, weeks before her head and legs were found in nearby waters.
Although the suspect denied killing Wall, he admitted to dismembering her body and tossing its parts into the sea. Madsen claims that he did so in panic after she accidentally died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The submarine and rocket builder took the stand and claimed that Wall died because when he mistakenly caused dangerous gases to be released inside the vessel. He said that he was outside at the time of the accident, and the internal pressure in the submarine prevented the hatches from opening.
Madsen said that he did not tell the truth in his previous statements because he did not want Wall’s family to know how she died.
“As I see it I am now at fault in a serious crime,” Madsen said. “I expect to be charged with involuntary manslaughter, and I expect to go to prison for a long time, and I know that everything I have worked for since I was a small boy is lost.”
The 30-year-old Wall was a freelance journalist who graduated from Columbia University and the London School of Economics. Her works have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, and Time magazine.