Kim Wall: Danish inventor claims journalist died when submarine hatch cover hit her and fractured her skull

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The Danish inventor charged with killing Swedish journalist Kim Wall has claimed that she died accidentally after being hit by a hatch cover on board a submarine.

Peter Madsen told Copenhagen Court he lost his footing while holding open the 70kg hatch door as he sailed with Wall in the strait between Denmark and Sweden last month on a submarine he had built himself.

The door struck Wall as it slammed shut, he said, telling the pre-trial hearing: “Kim had been severely hurt and was laying with an intense bleeding. There was a pool of blood where she had landed.”

He said he felt her neck for a pulse but, feeling none, he tried to bury her at sea by tying a metal weight around her waist. He then planned to sink the submarine with himself on board.

On August 23, the journalist’s headless torso washed up in Copenhagen, weighed down with metal.

Eccentric engineer: Peter Madsen aboard one of the submarines that he built (AP)

Prosecutors accuse Madsen of killing the Swedish journalist, a charge carrying a sentence of five years to and life in prison. Madsen has denied cutting off her head, legs and arms.

Madsen was charged with negligent manslaughter, in a closed case, and pleaded not guilty. 

On Tuesday, Copenhagen district court ruled to extend his custody for four weeks. Judge Anette Burkø said there was “reasonable suspicion” that he was guilty of murder.

Search operation: A Danish navy ship in Koge Bay, which is south of Copenhagen, during the search for Swedish journalist Kim Wall. (AP)

Wall, 30, a Swedish-born journalist, planned to interview Madsen, 46, on board his 18-metre long, 40-tonne submarine for a magazine feature on August 10.

But after UC3 Nautilus failed to return, her boyfriend alerted the authorities in the early hours of August 11.

Madsen was arrested after being rescued at sea, and initially told authorities he had dropped her off after nightfall the day of the interview.

He changed his testimony the next day, saying she died in an accident on board and he had buried her at sea.

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