Danish submarine and rocket builder Peter Madsen told Danish police that he thought of the 1990s serial killer thriller Se7en as he cut off the head of Swedish journalist Kim Wall on board his submarine, it has emerged on the second day of his trial in Copenhagen.
The 47-year-old self-taught engineer was defiant as prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen read back to him a statement he had given to the police, in which he described how the macabre Brad Pitt blockbuster had sprung to mind as he dismembered the body.
“I don’t think that there’s anything unnatural in that remark,” he told the court. “In that film, there is a scene where a person’s head is cut off.”
The 1995 film by director David Fincher is notorious for its shock ending, when the character played by Brad Pitt opens a box to find his wife’s severed head.
Madsen, a 47-year-old artist-engineer and inventor, stands accused of murdering Ms Wall to fulfil his violent sexual fantasies, after the 30-year-old journalist joined him on his submarine last summer to research an article on his amateur space project.
Wearing a black t-shirt and blue trousers, his shoulders were hunched, his head bowed, his feet fidgeted nervously and at times he rubbed his hands over his face as if in pain. But as the questioning continued he became more outspoken.
He claims that Ms Wall died after a malfunction on his submarine filled the vessel’s mess room with toxic exhaust fumes, after which he went into a psychosis and decided to dispose of her body.
But he admitted to using a 50cm-long sharpened screwdriver to skewer parts of Wall’s body, to watching a Russian animated snuff movie depicting a woman being beheaded, and to having had an interest in Marcel Lychau Hansen, known as “Amager man” or Amagermannen, one of Denmark’s most notorious serial killers.
Shown a set of 50cm-long sharpened screwdrivers by Mr Buch-Jensen, Madsen admitted that he had used them to pierce holes in the journalist’s torso, claiming he had wanted to make sure her body would sink for good in the waters off Copenhagen.
“I put some punctures in the body parts because I didn’t want them to be inflated by gases,” he said.
“There is nothing sexual in the fact that the stab holes were in her vagina. I understand why you might think there was, but there was nothing sexual in it for me.”
Madsen said the screwdrivers were used to leave marks on the seabed when he was out in his submarine. “I was in a crazy situation and I used whatever came to hand,” he said.
Madsen also admitted to having watched an animated film by a Russian snuff artist, which was found on his computer. The film, which was shown in court, depicted mongol warriors impaling naked women on spikes and then beheading one of them.
On Wednesday afternoon, Madsen was due to be questioned by his defence lawyer. The trial is set to last for 12 days, with sentencing on April 25.