What we learned from the first day of Peter Madsen’s trial in Copenhagen

The 12-day trial of amateur engineer and entrepreneur Peter Madsen began on Thursday. A number of new aspects of the case came to light.

What we learned from the first day of Peter Madsen's trial in Copenhagen
Lead prosecutor Jacob Buch-Jepsen (L) and police Deputy Chief Superintendent Jens Møller Jensen at Copenhagen City Court on Thursday March 8th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Lead prosecutor Jacob Buch-Jepsen questioned Madsen and presented the case against him as the accused took to the stand during the trial's first day.

A number of shocking details were described in what is a truly disturbing case.

Our reporting of the trial will set out to reflect the facts presented.

READ ALSO: Why The Local chose to report the Kim Wall case the way we did

Buch-Jepsen presented various pieces of evidence that the public had not previously seen. One important aspect of this was information gathered from a computer belonging to Peter Madsen and a digital reconstruction of the contents of his mobile phone, which was not recovered from Køge Bay waters.

The digital evidence shows that on the morning of August 10th, Madsen “googled 'beheaded girl a(r)gony' which leads to a video of an unidentified young woman who is slowly having her throat cut,” the prosecutor said according to AFP.

On July 26th, he also googled “female beheading” and watched the videos.

He also showed an interest in what Buch-Jepsen called 'impalement' of women, broadcaster DR reports.

Additionally, the prosecutor showed the court pictures of blue and orange nylon straps. He said that the straps had been found secured within the UC3 Nautilus submarine as well as in bags found by divers containing Kim Wall's clothes.

Marks from the straps were also found on Wall's body, which indicates that the journalist had been tied down in the submarine using the straps, Buch-Jepsen said.

Also presented on Thursday were details of a psychological assessment of Madsen.

Prosecutors cited a psychological assessment which declared him “perverse and highly sexually deviant,” DR reports.

“He has narcissistic and psychopathic traits, and is manipulating, with a severe lack of empathy and remorse,” Buch-Jepsen said according to AFP.

He was also described as “extremely untrustworthy” and a “pathological” liar.

Though it had been unclear whether Madsen himself would speak on Thursday, that turned out to be the case. The suspect stuck to the version of events he gave police in October – that Kim Wall died when the submarine's air pressure suddenly dropped and toxic fumes filled the vessel.

He has previously given two different accounts. He said that he did that because he wanted to protect the journalist's family from the details of her death.

READ ALSO: Peter Madsen: I lied about cause of death to protect Kim Wall's family

Defence lawyer Betina Hald Engmark stressed in her comments to the court that no cause of death could be determined by the police investigation.

“If these statements as presented by the prosecutor can be proven, it would be very incriminating for my client. However there is not enough proof,” Hald Engmark told the court, AFP writes.

The prosecution has confirmed it will seek a life sentence, which in Denmark averages around 16 years.

The trial is scheduled to resume on March 21st and a verdict is expected on April 25th.



Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

Connected cars are increasingly exposed to security threats. Therefore, a major government initiative is now being launched via the research institute Rise.

Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

More and more technical gadgets are now connected to the internet, and cars are no exception. However, the new reality raises questions about security, and from the Swedish side, an initiative is now being launched to combat cybercrime in the car industry through the government research institute Rise.

“We see a great need (for action), in regards to cyber-attacks in general and solving challenges related to the automotive industry’s drive to make cars more and more connected, and in the long run, perhaps even self-driving,” Rise chief Pia Sandvik stated.

Modern cars now have functions that allow car manufacturers to send out software updates exactly the same way as with mobile phones.

In addition to driving data, a connected car can also collect and pass on technical information about the vehicle.

Nightmare scenario

However, all this has raised questions about risks and the worst nightmare scenario in which someone could be able to take over and remotely operate a connected car.

Sandvik points out that, generally speaking, challenges are not only related to car safety but also to the fact that the vehicle can be a gateway for various actors to get additional information about car owners.

“If you want to gain access to information or cause damage, you can use different systems, and connected vehicles are one such system. Therefore, it is important to be able to test and see if you have robust and resilient systems in place,” she said.

Ethical hackers

Initially, about 15 employees at Rise will work on what is described as “Europe’s most advanced cyber security work” regarding the automotive industry.

Among the employees, there are also so-called “ethical hackers”, i.e., people who have been recruited specifically to test the systems.

“These are hackers who are really good at getting into systems, but not with the aim of inflicting damage, but to help and contribute to better solutions,” Sandvik noted.