Submarine case trial begins in Denmark under intense media focus

Large numbers of media from a range of countries were present in Copenhagen on Thursday as the trial began of amateur engineer Peter Madsen, who is charged with murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall.

Submarine case trial begins in Denmark under intense media focus
Members of the press gather at Copenhagen City Court as the trial of Peter Madsen begins on March 8th, 2018. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Scanpix Denmark

Queues of reporters and other media professionals formed outside Copenhagen City Court, where the trial, scheduled to take 12 days, is taking place.

Madsen on Thursday denied murdering Swedish journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade submarine on August 10th last year.

The 47-year-old did not address the court but his lawyer Betina Hald Engmark said that he denied the murder charge and maintained his position that Wall died accidentally on board his submarine, AFP reports.

He has admitted dismembering her body and dumping it at sea and breaching maritime regulations, Engmark told TV2 earlier on Thursday.

Prosecutors have said that they believe the murder of Wall was premeditated as Madsen brought a saw, knife, plastic strips, and metal pieces on board, all of which they say were used to torture and dismember her and dispose of her remains.

Due to the length of sentence called for by the police prosecution, a jury was initially assigned to the case. But in accordance with Madsen's wishes to have as few individuals judging the case as possible, that has been reduced to a single judge and two lay judges.

Lead prosecutor Jacob Buch Jepsen began proceedings on Thursday by reading the indictment sheet against Madsen to the court, Danish news agency Ritzau reports.

Jepsen has previously said he will call for a life sentence, which in Denmark averages around 16 years.

Madsen's pleas to the charges were then given to the court.

The court also heard on Thursday morning that the last contact from Kim Wall was in the form of text messages sent to her boyfriend shortly before contact was lost with Madsen's UC3 Nautilus submarine on August 10th.

“I'm still alive btw,” she wrote, then “But going down now!” and “I love you!!!!!!”

A minute later, she wrote: “He brought coffee and cookies tho.”

The last registered activity on the 30-year-old journalist's mobile phone was a few seconds of internet activity at 8.29pm, Ritzau writes.

“That is the last sign of life we have from her,” Jepsen said according to the report.

Wall had agreed to the trip on the submarine as part of her work on a feature on Madsen for American magazine Wired.



Almedalen knife attacker linked to Swedish neo-Nazi groups: reports

The man behind the knife attack at Sweden's Almedalen political festival has been active in the militant neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, Swedish media have reported.

Almedalen knife attacker linked to Swedish neo-Nazi groups: reports

He has taken part in several neo-Nazi demonstrations over the past few years and has also expressed support for the extreme right Alternative for Sweden party on social media, the Expressen newspaper reported.

The Moderate MP Hanif Bali said on Twitter after the news came out that the stabbing was “a terror attack”. “This is nothing other than a terror attack”. 

The man stabbed a woman in the upper body at the Donners plats square only a minute’s walk from the stage where all eight of Sweden’s parliamentary party leaders are making speeches this week at the Almedalen political festival. The women is being treated for severe injuries at the Visby Lasarett hospital. 

The 30-something attacker fled the scene but was stopped and arrested by Lars Reuterberg, a 69-year-old pensioner. 

Reuterberg told the TT newswire that he had heard someone shout “stop him!” and then seen a man jump over a fence from the corner restaurant. 

“I thought he’d nicked a bag or something, and my spontaneous reaction was ‘I should take him down’. He wasn’t such a big guy, certainly no bodybuilder, so I tried to look a little uninterested, but when he came near me he ended up on the end of mighty great shove.” 

The man flew into a door and then just lay here. “It was only then I saw that he had a knife, which I hadn’t known earlier, because then I might have acted differently,” he said. 

“I’m livid now,” he went on. “This is the world’s most unique political week, a people’s festival where you can meet politicians and celebrities and everyone says ‘hi’, where there are journalists and everything. And this nutter goes and wrecks it all.” 

“I’m quite proud of myself,” he admitted. “I was never afraid. I’m afraid now for the woman who got stabbed.”