A judge declined Wednesday to overturn the life sentence of Peter Madsen, the Danish submarine inventor who was found guilty of killing a reporter.
Madsen, 47, was convicted of premeditated murder and sexual assault of Swedish journalism Kim Wall, who was writing an article about him last year. While he admitted to throwing her body overboard, Madsen still insists that he did not kill her.
Wall’s headless torso washed ashore in August 2017 and police confirmed through DNA that the body part belonged to the reporter. Her head and legs were discovered almost two months later.
Madsen initially told authorities that he had dropped Wall off in Copenhagen, then changed his story to say she had accidentally died when she hit her head on a heavy hatch cover. During the trial, he blamed a carbon monoxide accident on board his submarine.
On the stand in April, Madsen admitted to stabbing Wall in the head, but said that happened after she was already dead and that he was trying to get the gas out of her body so she would sink into the water.
“I pierced certain parts of her body because I did not want them to be inflated by gas,” he said. “There was nothing erotic in those blows.”
Prosecutors also claim that the murder was premeditated as part of a sick sexual fantasy, pointing to videos found on Madsen’s computer of beheadings and impalements.
There is still no official cause for the 30-year-old reporter, who had attended Columbia University, although prosecutors have speculated she died either by strangulation or by having her throat slit.
“I’m terribly sorry to Kim’s relatives for what happened,” Madsen said to her parents, who were in the courtroom Tuesday.
In Denmark, a life sentence lasts an average of 16 years, although it can be extended.