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Danish Submarine Owner Says Journalist Died After He Lost His Grip On The Hatch Door

Peter Madsen told a Swedish judge on Tuesday that Kim Wall died when he lost his grip on the submarine's hatch door and it crashed onto her head.

Posted on September 5, 2017, at 3:06 p.m. ET

Tt News Agency / Reuters

Danish inventor Peter Madsen on Tuesday said Swedish journalist Kim Wall’s death aboard his submarine occurred after he accidentally lost his grip on the vessel's hatch and it slammed her head.

Madsen told the court the UC3 Nautilus vessel he was holding the hatch open for Wall to join when a wave from another boat jostled the submarine and the hatch door smashed Wall’s head. Madsen said the impact fractured her skull and killed her.

Jens Dresling / AP

The private submarine sits on a pier in Copenhagen harbor, Denmark.

“I lose my foothold and the hatch shuts,” Madsen said in court according to Reuters, adding that Wall was knocked to the floor. “There was a pool of blood where she had landed.”

Madsen, who was arrested Aug. 11 on suspicion of causing Wall's death, told police he buried the 30-year-old journalist at sea after she was killed in an accident. Madsen was rescued out at sea after his submarine abruptly sank.

Jens Dresling / AP

Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen addresses the media in front of the District Court of Copenhagen.

He originally told police that he dropped Wall off on shore not far from where they launched, but under questioning, he later admitted Wall died while on the submarine.

Wall’s torso was found 10 days later on a beach near Køge Bay. Copenhagen police said the arms and legs had "deliberately been cut off" the body and it was attached to a piece of metal, "likely with the purpose to make it sink."

Wall's blood was also found in the submarine, police said.

Madsen, 46, testified that he panicked and even considered killing himself, but denied mutilating Wall’s body.

Madsen is facing five years to life in prison if found guilty. After his testimony, the court ordered Madsen to be held in custody and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.