Danish inventor Peter Madsen has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall on his submarine.

Madsen had planned to kill Ms Wall, 30, either by suffocating her or cutting her throat, the Copenhagen court heard.

Her dismembered remains were found by Danish police at sea on 21 August last year, 11 days after she interviewed him on board his homemade vessel.

Madsen, 47, has said he will appeal against the conviction.

He was found guilty of premeditated murder and sexual assault after previously admitting to dismembering Ms Wall’s body on the submarine and throwing her remains overboard.

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His claim that Ms Wall’s death was accidental was dismissed by the court.

What did the judge say?

The case was heard by Copenhagen City Court Judge Anette Burkoe and two jurors.

Judge Burkoe said: “It is the court’s assessment that the defendant killed Kim Wall.

“We are talking about a cynical and planned sexual assault and brutal murder of a random woman, who in connection with her journalistic work had accepted an offer to go sailing in the defendant’s submarine.”

She said Madsen had “failed to give trustworthy explanations” and had “shown an interest for the killing and maiming of people and has shown an interest for impaling”.

No emotion

BBC’s Jenny Hill, at the court in Copenhagen

In the stuffy, crowded press room, everyone exhaled at once as the judge announced her verdict. This case has horrified Denmark – and not just because of the brutality of the crime.

Peter Madsen’s stunts and projects, after all, had captured the public imagination. But the man people thought they knew as a harmless eccentric turned out to be a calculating and violent killer.

Madsen went to extraordinary lengths to evade justice, scuttling his own submarine and changing his story several times. Today he sat, staring ahead, betraying no emotion as the judge told him that she didn’t believe that Kim Wall had died accidentally.

This was, she insisted, a “cynically planned murder”. Only Madsen knows exactly what happened on board the Nautilus that night but the details pieced together by investigators suggest a crime so gruesome that even the prosecuting lawyer admitted afterwards that he’d found the case particularly hard to deal with.

What do we know about the murder?

Ms Wall had been researching a story about Madsen’s venture and was last seen on the evening of 10 August as she departed with him on his self-built 40-tonne submarine, UC3 Nautilus, into waters off Copenhagen.

Her boyfriend raised the alarm the next day when she did not return from the trip. Madsen was rescued at sea after his submarine sank the same day. Police believe he deliberately scuttled the vessel.

Ms Wall’s mutilated torso was spotted by a passing cyclist on 21 August but her head, legs and clothing, placed in weighted-down bags, were not discovered by police divers until 6 October.

After his arrest, Madsen gave differing accounts of what had happened on board his submarine.

During the opening session of his trial last month, prosecutors said there was a suspicion that he had “psychopathic tendencies” after investigators discovered films on his computer showing women being tortured and mutilated.

What did Madsen say about that night?

Madsen’s shifting and unconvincing explanations helped convict him.

Initially, he said he had dropped Ms Wall off at about 22:30 the night before she disappeared and had not seen her since.

The next day Madsen gave police a new account of events, telling them there had been a “terrible accident” on board the self-built submarine.

Ms Wall, he said, had been accidentally hit on the head by the submarine’s 70kg (150lb) hatch. He had then dumped her body somewhere in Koge Bay, about 50km (30 miles) south of Copenhagen.

On 30 October, police said the inventor had changed his story again and told them Ms Wall had died on board of carbon monoxide poisoning while he was up on deck. He also admitted dismembering her body, which he had previously denied.

After the verdict was announced, Madsen’s lawyer Betina Hald Engmark told the court her client would appeal. He will remain in custody pending the process.

What does life imprisonment mean in Denmark?

Theoretically it means just that, but in reality life-term prisoners do not serve the sentence. Police killer Palle Sorensen, paroled after 32 years and now 90, and Naum Conevski, jailed in 1984 for killing two young men, are unusual in having served considerably more than the average of about 16 years.

The sentence range for murder starts at five years and runs to life.

One study shows the number of life-termers in Danish prisons increased from 10 in 1997 to 25 in 2013. The 2015 study said only every fifth or sixth murder convict was serving life.

Who was Kim Wall?

Friends and family describe her as a formidable character and driven journalist.

She was born in 1987 and grew up in a close-knit community in the small town of Trelleborg in southern Sweden, just across the strait dividing Denmark from Sweden.

She studied international relations at London School of Economics and went on to gain a place on the masters programme of Columbia University’s School of Journalism – described as the “Oxbridge of journalism”.

Even within her cohort she was top of the class, winning honours in her year, her classmate and friend Anna Codrea-Rado told the BBC.

Ms Wall’s close family members were not present in court for the verdict.

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