The Danish inventor accused of murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his home-made submarine kept video footage of authentic, torture-like executions of women on his hard drive, the prosecutor in the case said on Tuesday.
“We believe these videos show real murders of women. There are film sequences of beheadings and the hanging of women,” prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen told the Copenhagen court during a hearing to extend self-taught engineer Peter Madsen’s detention until October 31.
“It’s important to point out that these videos were not produced by Madsen himself, but the videos indicate a fetish for torture and murder,” he said.
Madsen, 46, is held on preliminary manslaughter charges in the death of 30-year-old Swedish freelance journalist Wall. Wall went missing on August 10 while interviewing Madsen onboard his amateur-built UC3 Nautilus submarine in the Oresund Strait. On August 11, Madsen was seen alone on the submarine, which police say he then sunk deliberately. He was arrested in connection with her disappearance on the same day. Eleven days later, Wall’s headless torso washed ashore in Copenhagen. A pipe was attached to the body part, which police say was likely intended to make it sink.
According to Madsen, Wall accidentally died on the submarine after being struck on the head by a 70 kg hatch door. He then claims he panicked, throwing her body overboard, insisting he neither murdered Wall nor dismembered her body in any way.
Multiple stab wounds
Faced with the new evidence, Madsen, who appeared in court via a video-link, said the hard drive found in his workshop did not belong exclusively to him, but was used by everyone working there. “We had, among others, an intern living there,” he said.
Prosecutors also presented new results from a post-mortem of Wall’s dismembered torso which showed a total of 15 knife wounds, including in the ribcage and genitals, believed to have been inflicted in direct connection with her death.
“The injuries occurred near the moment of her death and not several hours afterwards like the defence claims,” prosecutors said.
The report was not able to establish Wall’s cause of death however. “To do so, more body parts need to be found and potential finds on those need to be connected with the wounds found on the torso,” chief investigator Jens Moller-Jensen told Swedish daily Aftonbladet.
Madsen’s defence lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, on the other hand, said the court had heard “nothing that supports Kim Wall being killed by my client”.
Engmark said it could not be ruled out that the injuries found on the torso had been inflicted from a fall.
DNA tests have also confirmed traces of Wall on Madsen’s hands, face and neck.
Prosecutors believe Madsen murdered Wall in cold blood as part of a sick, twisted sexual fantasy and then mutilated and sank her body at sea in a bid to hide the evidence.
“Our suspicions against Peter Madsen have been strengthened,” Buch-Jepsen told journalists after the hearing.
Wall, who lived in Beijing and New York, was an accomplished freelance journalist who had reported for prestigious publications such as The New York Times, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post and Vice Magazine. She wrote on subjects as varied as Idi Amin’s torture chambers in Uganda, the tour buses going to Sri Lanka’s former battlefields and the practise of Voudou religion in Haiti.