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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 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.

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