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How Denmark's submarine murderer crumpled as the verdict hit home

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How Denmark's submarine murderer crumpled as the verdict hit home
Peter Madsen closed his eyes as he digested the verdict. Photo: Anne Gyrite Schütt/Ritzau Scanpix)
17:55 CEST+02:00
Peter Madsen showed clear signs of nervousness as he walked through the neoclassical domed door of courtroom 60 in Copenhagen City Court for the verdict.
But he still managed a fleeting smile of greeting for his gruff-voiced defence lawyer Betina Hald Engmark. 
 
With no further need to scrutinise the evidence that had been piled up in thick A4 books around him on the other 11 days of his trial, he no longer wore his thick black-rimmed glasses. 
 
He rubbed his eyes and slightly pale face, as if still recovering from a near-sleepless night. 
 
After he sat down, he at first spoke briefly and seriously with Hald Engmark, but then he sat in silence waiting for the judge and two jurors to arrive. 
 
He was markedly more subdued than on other days, when his eyes often scanned the courtroom, taking in its ornate classical stucco, modern reliefs showing anguished figures, and chandelier lit with the light from a central courtyard. 
 
The area reserved for the media and public was so overcrowded that some journalists struggled to find a decent seats, and chairs were passed forward from the back so they could squeeze into a place with a good vantage point. 
 
Kim Wall's mother and father, who had followed the trial on other days from seats reserved for the victim's family, were not present. The family seats were instead filled with friends and relatives,  several with a clear resemblance to Kim Wall.  They chatted quietly, catching up with each other as cousins do at a wedding or funeral. 
 
When Judge Anette Burkø arrived in the courtroom, everyone stood up following Danish court tradition. She immediately began reading the unanimous verdict, handing down an unusually harsh life-sentence while the room was still standing. 
 
Most journalists had expected the sentence to come towards the end of the judge's address, when they would already be sitting down with their laptops open ready to fil. 
 
There was a sense of frustration as they struggled to find ways to communicate the news to editors and producers. Some pulled out their phones, others balanced laptops in the air.  
 
After the the verdict had been delivered Madsen's demeanour underwent a dramatic change.  He appeared totally crushed and when the court was allowed to sit. He sat stock still, his head bowed and his eyes closed for perhaps half a minute as he absorbed it. 
 
The forensic psychiatrist who examined Madsen had identified narcissistic traits. Perhaps he had still been holding onto a hope that the judge and two jurors would be swayed by Hald Engmark's well-put together final arguments, which emphasised the absence of conclusive physical evidence in the case. 
 
If he had been holding onto such a hope, it was demolished the moment Burkø began her address. 
 
After the verdict was delivered, Madsen was led out of the court with Hald Engmark to a back room where they could discuss their response. Minutes later they returned and Hald Engmark announced that Madsen would appeal.
 
By this time Madsen had recovered his composure somewhat, and he began once again to move and look around. 
 
Then the judge and jury left the court, after which Madsen was led away by a police officer. 
 
After the trial was over, several members of Kim Wall's family shook hands with one another, less out of celebration perhaps than a sense of completion. 
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