World News

Madsen, Danish Inventor, Won’t Appeal Murder Conviction

Posted May 7, 2018 12:37 p.m. EDT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor, will not appeal his conviction for killing a journalist aboard the submarine he built, prosecutors said, in a new twist to one of the most-watched — and most gruesome — criminal cases in recent European history.

Madsen will appeal the life sentence a court imposed on him — a rare penalty in Denmark, even in murder cases — but will not challenge the verdict delivered April 25 that he was guilty of sexually assaulting and killing Kim Wall, and desecrating her body.

“The appeal case will only concern the sentencing, and not the issue of guilt,” the Copenhagen District prosecutor’s office wrote on Twitter.

Madsen’s lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, said in a text message that the move was “certainly no recognition” of guilt.

Even with a life sentence, Madsen could be considered for release in as little as 12 years.

Wall, 30, who was Swedish, was last seen alive Aug. 10 when she boarded the vessel planning to interview Madsen, 47. Madsen, who had designed submarines and founded a company to build spacecraft, sank the sub and was rescued the next day.

Wall’s torso later washed up on a beach south of Copenhagen, while other body parts were found by police divers.

Madsen admitted to dismembering Wall’s body but insisted that she had died in an accident, although his accounts changed repeatedly. But evidence presented at trial showed that he had planned the killing in detail — even discussing it with people — but had struggled to find a victim; three other women had declined his invitations.

“It was not premeditated against Kim Wall but against the next women who wanted to go along with him on the submarine,” prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said after the verdict.

Wall was a successful freelance journalist who had reported from far-flung parts of the globe for a number of publications, including The New York Times. Paradoxically, she died a violent death not in some distant, dangerous place, but in one of the safest societies in the world, about 45 minutes from where she grew up.

Her death, and the investigation and trial of Madsen, drew worldwide media attention.

On the night of her disappearance, Wall was set to host her own farewell party, as she and her boyfriend were days away from moving to Beijing. Her family, friends and international organizations have established grants and awards in her name.