Danish inventor Peter Madsen was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison today for killing and sexually abusing Swedish journalist Kim Wall.
Wall, 30, had disappeared in mid-August 2017 after boarding Madsen's submarine while researching a story. Her remains were later found in plastic bags in the Bay of Koge, southwest of Copenhagen, but authorities have been unable to establish a specific cause of death.
Madsen "brought a saw, knife, sharpened screwdrivers, straps, strips and pipes" aboard his submarine as part of a plan to kill Wall, the prosecutor has said.
The main charges against Madsen, 47, were murder, indecent handling of a corpse and "sexual relations other than intercourse of a particularly dangerous nature." He was found guilty of all three. The prosecutor had asked for a life sentence for Madsen.
People who receive a life sentence in Denmark spend 16 years in prison on average. A life sentence is the harshest penalty in Denmark and is normally reserved for people convicted of more than one murder.
"In determining the punishment, the court emphasized that it was a cynical and planned sexual assault and killing of a very brutal character on a random woman who, in connection with her journalistic work, had accepted an offer of a trip in the defendant's submarine," the City Court of Copenhagen said in a statement in Danish released after the verdict.
Madsen plans to appeal the verdict, defense attorney Betina Hald Engmark told reporters today. Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said he is satisfied with the verdict.
"I think it was crucial to the court that it was a premeditated murder and that there are sexual violations of serious character," he told reporters.
When asked what it was like to work on a case of this nature, Buch-Jepsen said it has affected him more than others.
"I am not made of steel so, of course, this case affects me on a personal level, but I have a professional role I need to carry out," he said. "But there's no doubt that after going home from work, this case has gotten under my skin more than other cases."
Madsen, who has offered shifting explanations about what happened on the submarine, had denied abusing and killing Wall, but admitted dismembering her body and pleaded guilty to the indecent handling of a corpse charge. His defense lawyer had said he should only be found guilty of indecent handling of a corpse, which carries a jail term of up to six months in Denmark. She said the prosecutor hasn't proved Madsen murdered Wall.
Wall graduated with a bachelor's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She then obtained a dual master's degree in journalism and international relations from Columbia University in New York City.
She traversed the globe to cover stories about, as she described, "the undercurrents of rebellion." Before her death, she reported on identity, gender, pop-culture, social justice and foreign policy from China, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Haiti, North Korea, India as well as the United States and the Marshall Islands.