Today’s proceedings in the ongoing trial of submariner Peter Madsen were mainly concentrated on trying to establish background to the case and testing the forensic evidence.
The first witness of the day saw Peter Madsen from his own boat. He shouted across to him and Madsen replied that he “wanted to try something dangerous”.
The Nautilus then sank, and Madsen jumped into the sea and was pulled out by witness. Initially, Madsen said he’d been alone on the sub, but when police called him by phone, he said Kim Wall had been dropped off at Refshaleøen, so the witness then sailed Madsen to Dragør Harbour.
No conclusive answers
Next up was pathologist and senior doctor Christina Jacobsen. When questioned, she said that it had been difficult to come to a final conclusion regarding the cause of death because the body parts were too badly decayed due to being in the water so long.
Jacobsen conceded that some of Wall’s lesions to the lower abdomen and sexual organs could have been inflicted when she was still alive, but other injuries to the upper body were inflicted after death.
The prosecution drew special attention to injuries around the head and neck area. Jacobsen said that Wall’s throat appeared to have been cut with a single slash, and that could be the cause of death.
Moving on to Wall’s legs, the pathologist was asked about some pressure marks around the ankles. “Could there have been anything round her ankles under plastic strips,” asked prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen.
In relation to Madsen’s claim that Wall died as a result due to the release of exhaust gases in the submarine, the pathologist was unable to confirm or deny the supposition because there were no traces of exhaust gases found in the heart tissue.
Madsen had earlier explained that he spent an hour trying to push Wall’s intact body out of the submarine. His defence lawyer Betina Hald Engmark wanted to know whether any of the injuries could have occurred as a result of his efforts to push her through the hatch. “Yes, it can’t be ruled out,” answered Jacobsen.
Engmark also asked the pathologist whether carbon monoxide poisoning could be the cause of death, as Madsen claimed. Jacobsen admitted that this could not be ruled out either.
After a break for lunch, the first witness called was Wall’s boyfriend. He talked about their relationship and the events leading up to the fateful voyage. After his testimony, the bistandsadvokaten, a lawyer who looks after the interests of the victim and their family at a trial, put in a request for 150,000 kroner in compensation for him and Wall’s parents.
Struck by odd behaviour
The radio operator on the helicopter that had been called out to look for the submarine then told the court that he had been in contact with Madsen. “I wanted to hear whether anyone had been injured. All I was told was that there were some technical problems and it would be an hour to an hour and a half before he would be in Dragør,” the operator said.
He then saw the submarine begin to dive and sink. It went under in around 30 seconds. From radio communication it was assumed there were two people involved, so the fear was that one of them was still trapped in the submarine. The radio operator said: “It was confirmed to me that there ought not to be any more [people].”
When the helicopter landed at Dragør, the witness went towards Madsen to tell him there was a doctor on board and that the police were on their way. However, to his surprise, Madsen started to walk away.
When pressed further, Madsen reiterated the story that Wall had been dropped off earlier at Refshaleøen. He also asked the witness whether he thought that the Navy would be able to track him, which the witness thought an odd question.
The doctor on board the helicopter felt Madsen had not behaved in the way people usually do in such circumstances. He didn’t seem shaken and said that all he wanted was to go home to his wife and his two cats.
Seemed a bit down
A German who had worked as a trainee in Madsen’s rocket laboratory testified via an interpreter that around August 10 an Australian film crew had been in the laboratory.
When asked whether he’d noticed anything usual, he said that Madsen seemed to be “in a state that I’d not seen before.” He seemed down – possibly as a result of a rocket not being ready for launch when it should have been. Others in the laboratory also noticed that Madsen seemed to have no energy – as if he’d given up.
Sex and porn
The trainee also got the impression that Madsen was interested in sex and porn. Madsen had hinted that he was interested in the ‘dark net’.
The prosecution asked the witness about a saw and some green hoses that were on board the sub, but the trainee didn’t recall having seen them.
Returning to the ‘dark net’, when questioned by Engmark, the trainee admitted that he had seen some decapitation videos made by Islamic State out of curiosity, but that was four or five years ago. He also said he’d talked about them with Madsen.
The trial reconvenes tomorrow and will again consist of hearing witness testimony.