Prosecutors presented new evidence in the case against Danish inventor Peter Madsen on Tuesday, saying the body of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who died on Madsen's personal submarine, was riddled with more than a dozen stab wounds. At the pretrial hearing, prosecutors said police had also found a hard drive in Madsen's laboratory containing images of women who were tortured and murdered.
The revelations marked another unsettling turn in an already gruesome case, which has captivated Denmark and attracted international headlines ever since Wall was first reported missing in mid-August. Last seen alive boarding Madsen's submarine on Aug. 10, Wall was nowhere to be found when that submarine sank and Madsen was rescued the next day. Wall's body, stripped of her head and limbs, washed ashore less than two weeks later.
Detained shortly after he was rescued, Madsen initially maintained he had dropped her off, alive and safe, the night of the same day they set out — only to recant that story later, saying he "buried her at sea" after a 155-pound hatch accidentally fell on her head in a "terrible accident."
The court has proved skeptical of this defense so far, ordering Madsen's detention extended as the charges against him have escalated from involuntary manslaughter up to the mutilation of a corpse and manslaughter. The latter charge is the "legal equivalent of murder" in Denmark, The New York Times explains.
At a pretrial hearing in Copenhagen on Tuesday, Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said the state's case against Madsen has only strengthened in recent weeks.
In addition to the stab wounds on Wall's body — which, according to Reuters, Buch-Jepsen said were inflicted "around or shortly after her death" — investigators say they also found Wall's DNA on Madsen's nails, nose and neck. The wire service noted that the cause of Wall's death has not yet been officially determined.
At the same time, prosecutors said police had found footage on a computer in his laboratory that depicts the torture and decapitation of women — videos that appear not to have been produced by Madsen himself but "which we presume to be real," Buch-Jepsen said.
"The videos indicate that one might be interested in fetish, torture and killing," he said Tuesday, according to the Danish publication Politiken. "These are some very serious videos with women recorded abroad."
But Madsen denied the computer was his, saying it was found in a communal space. "They are the space laboratory's tools which have been used by everyone in the laboratory," Madsen said, as translated by Reuters.
The court ordered Tuesday that Madsen remain detained longer as authorities continue their investigation.