A Danish inventor accused of killing a journalist and dismembering her corpse has told prosecutors that she died aboard his self-designed submarine after he accidentally hit her with the vessel’s 155-pound hatch door. RML Spacelab ApS founder and CEO Peter Madsen, 46, said that he had been holding the hatch open for Swedish journalist Kim Wall as he she climbed out of the sub when he slipped and accidentally let the hatch swing close onto her head.
“Kim had been been severely hurt and was laying with an intense bleeding. There was a pool of blood where she had landed,” Madsen told a pretrial hearing, according to The Evening Standard. Madsen claimed that she died after about 20 seconds, and that in wake of the event his initial inclination was to sink the sub with himself and her in it. But after sleeping for two hours, he said, he decided to bury her body at sea and return to shore so that he could see his wife and cats before handing himself over to authorities.
The New York Times reported that prosecutors were skeptical of Madsen’s account when he appeared in a Copenhagen court on Tuesday, noting that evidence showed Wall’s head, arms, and legs had been deliberately cut off before being weighed down and dropped into the ocean. After being asked by a prosecutor whether he kept a saw on the submarine, Madsen said that normally he did but that he had left the tool in his workshop on the day Wall came aboard. The prosecutor claimed that a search of the workshop had not turned up the missing saw. Madsen, who is being charged with manslaughter and indecent handling of a corpse, reportedly sunk his sub deliberately the morning after Wall’s death, and initially told police that he had dropped the journalist safety ashore on Refshale Island in Copenhagen.
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