Denmark charges inventor with murdering journalist Kim Wall on submarine

Danish inventor Peter Madsen | AP

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Danish inventor Peter Madsen was formally indicted Tuesday on charges of homicide in connection with the death in August of Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist who had boarded his submarine to interview him.

Wall, a 30-year-old freelance reporter, was researching a story on the aerospace engineer and entrepreneur when she went missing on board his 17-meter (56-foot) submarine in August last year.

The murder was committed "with prior planning and preparation", according to the police indictment. Her headless torso was found floating in waters off Copenhagen on August 21.

In a case that Buch-Jepsen described as "very unusual and extremely gross", the inventor has also been charged with sexual assault, without intercourse, of a particularly unsafe nature.

Prosecutors will ask for life imprisonment at his trial, which is scheduled to start on March 8 and conclude on April 25. Wall's head was found in early October.

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"This is a very unusual and extremely brutal case which has had tragic consequences for Kim Wall and her relatives", said Special Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen, according to the statement.

Investigators recovered and searched the vessel, which police believe Madsen sank intentionally.

Her boyfriend raised the alarm the next day when she did not return from the trip.

Madsen, 46, first said he dropped her off on shore after the ride, but his story changed several times afterward. He claimed that she died in a "terrible accident" when a 155-pound hatch slipped and fell on her head - then, when evidence contradicted this claim, he said she died from carbon monoxide poisoning. He later admitted he had thrown her body parts into the sea, before trying to purposely sink the submarine in a "suicide attempt".

In addition to The South China Morning Post, her work has appeared in Harpers, The Guardian, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic and many other publications.

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