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CRIME

Danish appeals court upholds submarine killer’s life sentence

A Danish appeals court on Wednesday upheld a life sentence handed down by a lower court against Peter Madsen for the 2017 murder of a Swedish journalist aboard his homemade submarine.

Danish appeals court upholds submarine killer's life sentence
Directions outside the Østre Landsret appeals court in Copenhagen on September 26th. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Madsen, 47, had asked the Copenhagen appeals court to reduce his life term, but did not appeal the district court's April 25th guilty verdict for the murder of 30-year-old Kim Wall.

The Copenhagen appeals court announced its verdict on Wednesday afternoon after the defence and prosecution presented final arguments.

The verdict had been expected on September 14th but the court had to postpone it after a lay judge collapsed in the courtroom.

Madsen was convicted in convicted in April of the murder of Wall and sentenced to life in prison.

He had asked the court to give him a lighter sentence, arguing that life behind bars was “disproportionate”. The amateur engineer has argued her death was an accident but admitted dismembering her corpse and throwing the body parts into the sea in August 2017.

Life sentences are rarely handed down for a single killing in Denmark. In the past 10 years, only three people have received such sentences.

A life sentence in Denmark averages around 16 years. Currently, 25 inmates in the country are serving life behind bars.

The prosecution insisted that Madsen's life sentence was justified, given the grisly nature of the murder and his meticulous planning.

On August 10th, 2017, Wall, an award-winning reporter, boarded the submarine with Madsen, an eccentric and self-taught engineer and a minor celebrity in Denmark, to interview him for an article she was writing.

Wall's boyfriend reported her missing when she failed to return home that night.

Her dismembered body parts were later found on the seabed, weighted down in plastic bags.

Madsen changed his version of events several times, but ultimately told the lower court that Wall died when the air pressure suddenly dropped and toxic fumes filled his vessel while he was up on deck.

An autopsy report concluded that she probably died as a result of suffocation or having her throat slit, but the decomposed state of her body meant examiners could not determine an exact cause of death.

Fourteen stab wounds and piercings were also found in and around her genital area.

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's lawyer Betina Hald Engmark said she and her client would study Wednesday's ruling before deciding whether to appeal it to the Supreme Court.  

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MONEY

Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The National Unit for Special Crime has received 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief packages since 1st April 2020, according to a press release from the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet).

Denmark police receive 456 reports of fraud from the corona relief fund

The frauds and attempted frauds amount to 212 million kroner, although some of the scams were discovered before the fraudsters got the money. More than 28 million kroner has been recovered through 102 recovery operations.

According to Jørgen Andersen, deputy police inspector and head of the Money Laundering Secretariat, the task has been taken “very seriously” in the secretariat since the introduction of corona relief packages.

“And it has had a high priority with us as authorities. But also with the notifiers – here primarily banks and the accountants – and we sat down together quite quickly in a community.

“Here, we organised the effort in such a way that when banks and auditors sent notifications to us where there was a suspicion of misuse of schemes, we typically sent them within 24 hours to the authorities who paid money on these schemes”, Andersen says.

Companies or individuals should contact the Money Laundering Secretariat (Hvidvasksekretariatet) if they suspect money laundering or terrorist financing.

In October 2020, an eight-billion kroner stimulus package was agreed in parliament to help Danish businesses and cultural institutions hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The financial package also included a liquidity fund totalling 28 million kroner. 

READ ALSO: Denmark announces new coronavirus relief for businesses and culture

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