April 24, 2018 / 10:03 PM / 3 months ago

Danish court to decide in submarine death trial

April 25 (Reuters) - A Danish court on Wednesday will give its verdict in the trial of inventor Peter Madsen, accused of murdering and dismembering a Swedish journalist aboard his homemade submarine in Copenhagen harbor in last August.

Madsen, 47, has admitted to dismembering the corpse of Kim Wall, who died in the submarine when she was researching a story on the inventor. But he has repeatedly denied murdering her.

Police detained Madsen on August 11 last year when he emerged from his submarine without Wall, 30, with whom he had boarded the submarine the previous day.

Later that month, police identified a torso washed ashore in Copenhagen as Wall’s. Arms, legs and a head determined to be that of the victim were also later retrieved by the authorities.

The prosecutors said Wall died either by strangulation or having her throat cut. Forensics has not been able to confirm nor deny either allegation.

Madsen said he dismembered the body and threw it overboard because he wanted to restore “normal conditions” on board.

He claims Wall died from breathing exhaust gases that had leaked into the submarine due to a technical error while he was on the deck of the vessel preparing to submerge. Forensics has not been able to back up his claim.

The prosecutor wants the maximum penalty of life in prison or a custodial sentence for Madsen. The defence wants a minimum sentence of six months in prison for dismembering the corpse, which would mean the immediate release of Madsen, as he has already been in custody for eight months.

The verdict is expected about 1100 GMT. The prosecution and the defense have two weeks to decide whether to appeal the sentence.

Reporting by Emil Gjerding Nielson; Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Angus MacSwan

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