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 breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.