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Danish DIY submarine maker charged with journalist Kim Wall’s murder

Swedish journalist Kim WallKim

STOCKHOLM, Sweden | AFP | Danish prosecutors on Tuesday formally charged inventor Peter Madsen with last year’s murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, whose dismembered body parts were found at sea after she interviewed him on his homemade submarine.

Madsen, who was arrested and detained shortly after Wall’s disappearance in August, has admitted cutting up her body and dumping it at sea but has denied intentionally killing her.

His trial will begin on March 8, charged with premeditated murder  prosecutors said.

They said it was not known exactly how Wall was murdered, “but the homicide could have taken place by cutting of the throat or strangulation.”

Prosecutors said they would call for a life sentence against Madsen, which in Denmark averages 16 to 17 years before parole according to national statistics, though some convicts have been locked up much longer.

The remains of 30-year-old Wall were found over a series of weeks in Koge Bay, weighed down by metal objects, after she vanished while interviewing Madsen on his submarine on August 10.

The full charge sheet will be made public on January 23. Prosecutors urged the media to exercise restraint in publishing details of the case.

“This is a very unusual and extremely brutal case,” prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said in a statement.

“We hope the media will respect that further evidence in the case must be presented in court and not in the press,” he said.

After intentionally sinking his submarine early on August 11 in Koge Bay, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Danish capital, Madsen was picked up by a rescue vessel and initially told police he had dropped Wall off on land after their interview the previous evening.

He then went on to change his version of events several times.

Wall worked as a freelance journalist based in New York and China, and her articles were published in The Guardian, The New York Times and others.

She had written about the earthquake-hit ruins of Haiti, the macabre torture chambers of Idi Amin’s Uganda, and Cubans using hard drives to access foreign culture.

At the time of her disappearance, she was believed to be working on a feature story about Madsen, an eccentric, well-known figure in Denmark.

The 47-year-old self-taught engineer has successfully launched rockets with the aim of developing private space travel.

He is known for his occasionally foul temper and fallouts with former colleagues.

His homemade submarine Nautilus, launched in 2008, was the biggest private sub ever made when he built it with help from a group of volunteers.

But they became engaged in a long-running dispute over the Nautilus, before members of the board decided to transfer the vessel’s ownership to Madsen, according to the sub’s website.

Madsen’s character is expected to be central to the murder case against him.

A verdict is expected on April 25.

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