Danish inventor Peter Madsen denies abuse of corpse charge in submarine case

Peter Madsen (right), builder and captain of the private submarine UC3 Nautilus, talking to a police officer in Dragoer Harbour, south of Copenhagen, on Aug 11, 2017.
Peter Madsen (right), builder and captain of the private submarine UC3 Nautilus, talking to a police officer in Dragoer Harbour, south of Copenhagen, on Aug 11, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish inventor Peter Madsen denies a new charge of abuse of a corpse, which police have put to the court investigating whether he killed Swedish reporter Kim Wall on board his submarine.

Police said on Wednesday (Aug 23), as they formally identified her headless torso, that the body had been weighted down with metal and an attempt had been made to remove gas and air from inside to keep it on the seabed.

On Friday, police halted the search for Ms Wall's remaining body parts in the waters between Denmark and Sweden, although divers were searching the harbour to which Madsen was brought after being rescued.

Officers declined to comment on why the search had been suspended, other than saying they were ready to begin it again when necessary.

Police have received 656 tip-offs in the case and urged the public to keep a lookout, especially for the missing limbs and the clothes Ms Wall was wearing - an orange shirt, black and white skirt and white shoes - when the submarine headed out. "We also still want to hear from people who can make us more aware of the people involved and their behaviour," the police statement said.

Ms Wall, who was researching a story on inventor Madsen, went missing after he took her out to sea in his 17m submarine on Aug 10.

Police charged Madsen with killing Ms Wall, a charge carrying a sentence of between five years and life in prison, on Aug 11 when he was rescued after his submarine sank.

Madsen denies both the murder and abuse of a corpse charges, the police statement said. He and his lawyer say he buried her at sea after she died in an accident.

In its preliminary investigation, the court ordered Madsen detained until Sept 5, pending further inquires, on the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Police will seek to extend the pre-trial custody when it is reviewed next month, again requesting he be held on the murder charge as they initially did, police spokesman Jakob Buch-Jepsen said on Thursday.

The submarine is one of three constructed by Madsen and one of the largest privately built ones in the world. It can carry eight people and weighs 40 tonnes when fully equipped.

Police still do not know the cause of Ms Wall's death.