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CRIME

Danish inventor Peter Madsen jailed for life over submarine murder

Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been sentenced to life in jail over the murder of Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall.

Danish inventor Peter Madsen jailed for life over submarine murder
Submarine builder Peter Madsen. Photo: Niels Hougaard/Ritzau via AP

The decision, made by a unanimous court of one professional judge and two lay judges, was announced at 1pm on Wednesday by Copenhagen District Court. His lawyer immediately said he would appeal the verdict.

Madsen, 47, had admitted dismembering 30-year-old Wall's body and throwing her remains overboard in waters off Copenhagen last August, but claimed her death was accidental.

But he changed his version of events several times, and the court found he had failed to give any credible explanations. 

He initially claimed he had dropped Wall off on dry land in Copenhagen on the night of August 10th, 2017, after she boarded his submarine Nautilus to interview the eccentric self-taught engineer.

But he soon changed his story, claiming that a heavy hatch door had fallen on her head and killed her.

When the autopsy later revealed there was no blunt trauma to Wall's skull, he said she died after a sudden drop in pressure caused toxic fumes to fill the vessel while he was up on deck.

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen on the other hand told the court during the 11-day trial that Madsen killed the journalist as part of a macabre sexual fantasy and “tried to create the perfect crime”.

The court also found Madsen guilty of sexual assault and desecrating a corpse.

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Despite the testimony of many experts, the lack of tangible evidence in the case and the decomposed state of Wall's remains made it impossible to determine her exact cause of death.

An autopsy report said she probably died as a result of suffocation or having her throat slit.

But the court found the incriminating circumstances were enough to find Madsen guilty, including the gruesome videos he watched, and the fact that he brought a saw, plastic strips and a sharpened screwdriver on board.

Psychiatric experts who evaluated Madsen – who described himself to friends as “a psychopath, but a loving one” – found him to be “a pathological liar” who poses “a danger to others” and who was likely to be a repeat offender.

Madsen is the 15th person in 10 years to receive a life sentence in Denmark.

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CRIME

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.

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