Imprisoned in Denmark, the man accused of killing a woman in his submarine has described her death as a tragic accident, and the subsequent disposal of her body in the waters off Copenhagen as understandable, considering his emotional state at the time.
Peter Madsen was showing a 30-year-old reporter named Kim Wall around his boat in August, he told a court last month. He said he lost his grip on a heavy hatch, which crashed into Wall's skull, and then he panicked and gave her what prosecutors described as a "burial at sea."
"In the shock I was in, it was the right thing to do," Madsen told the court, Agence France-Presse reported.
But yesterday, after divers recovered the better part of Wall's remains from the sea floor near Copenhagen, police described what her "burial" looked like:
In plastic bags weighted with metal, they found her severed legs, according to the Associated Press.
They also brought up her head, which showed no signs of fracture by a hatch or otherwise.
The divers found a knife in one bag, as well as the dead woman's clothing. In the same waters several weeks earlier, police found a naked torso, which the AP reported had been stabbed 15 times.
Police have never believed Madsen's account, which has changed several times since Wall disappeared on his boat.
As The Washington Post has previously reported, Wall was working on a story about the 46-year-old inventor and engineer, who had built the 60-foot UC3 Nautilus several years ago and plans to crowdfund a rocket launch from his space lab.
The two were seen boarding the Nautilus on Aug. 10. Madsen was spotted leaping from the sinking vessel the next morning, and Wall was never again seen alive.
Madsen first claimed that he had dropped the reporter off on shore before his submarine malfunctioned and sank. But police found blood in the boat when they pulled it up from the seafloor.
The inventor was soon arrested on a manslaughter charge, and accused of scuttling his own ship.
Madsen admitted Wall died on board several days later, after a passing cyclist found a headless, limbless, punctured torso washed ashore.
But he claimed it was an accident - the falling hatch and the burial at sea.
Nevertheless, a judge upgraded the charges against him to murder last month.
"Two people are on a boat. Her legs and head and arms were cut off, and we can prove that," a special prosecutor for the Copenhagen police told The Washington Post at the time.
Under questioning by prosecutors, Madsen said he had an interest in sadomasochism and had sex on board the Nautilus at least once, though he denied doing so with Wall. His defense lawyer told a Swedish newspaper that her client was "not quite like other people" in his sexual preferences - though they were harmless.
But earlier this week, as Susan Hogan wrote for The Post, prosecutors revealed they found videos on Madsen's computer of women being strangled, decapitated and burned. And these images were believed to be authentic.
The footage on the computer wasn't his, Madsen said. It could have belonged to anyone who worked in his space lab.
Madsen remains in pretrial detention through Oct. 31, though it could be extended.