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Kim Wall Denmark Submarine

An inventor accused of killing a Swedish journalist said her death was 'a terrible accident'


Updated September 05, 2017 07:43 PM EDT

A Danish inventor charged with murder in the death of Swedish journalist Kim Wall told the Copenhagen City Court that her death was an accident.

Peter Madsen testified Tuesday, saying he was holding the hatch of his self-built submarine open when he lost his grip. He said the hatch cover fell onto her head, badly injuring her, CNN reports.

“It was a terrible accident, a disaster, no doctor could have done anything,” he told the court, according to The Guardian. “Kim was severely injured. There was a pool of blood where she landed. I touched her neck, but she had no pulse.”

Madsen said he contemplated suicide but decided to try to sink her body instead.

After hearing Madsen's tesitmony, the judge ordered that he be detained for four more weeks.

Danish police identified the disembodied female torso washed ashore in Copenhagen as that of Swedish journalist Kim Wall. Authorities believe she was murdered by a Danish inventor while researching for a story aboard his home-made submarine.

Kim Wall Denmark Submarine
This is a Dec. 28, 2015 handout photo portrait of the Swedish journalist Kim Wall taken in Trelleborg, Sweeden. Danish police say that the owner of a home-built submarine has told investigators that a missing female Swedish journalist died onboard in an accident, and he buried her at sea in an unspecified location. Copenhagen police said Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 that submarine owner Peter Madsen will continue to be held on preliminary manslaughter charges. (Tom Wall via AP)

Inventor Peter Madsen maintains his innocence, saying Wall died in an accident and that he "buried" her at sea. In a conflicting initial statement to police, he had said he last saw Wall when he brought the journalist back to Copenhagen, alive, on the night of Aug. 10.

Police spokesman Jens Moller said metal had been attached to the woman's torso, indicating someone wanted "to make sure the body would sink to the bottom."

The torso was found without arms, legs, or a head in Amager, Denmark. Authorities do not yet know the cause of death, and crews are searching for other body parts.

Forensic investigation of submarine
Police technicians board the amateur-built submarine UC3 Nautilus on a pier in Copenhagen harbour, Denmark, Monday Aug. 14, 2017, to conduct forensic probes in connection with a missing journalist investigation. Police from Sweden were assisting their Danish counterparts on Tuesday for clues in the search for a missing Swedish woman who apparently was aboard an amateur-built submarine a day before it sank. (Mogens Flindt/Ritzau Foto via AP)

The day after Madsen took the journalist out to sea, Madsen was rescued when his UC3 Nautilus submarine sank. Investigators believe Madsen sank his vessel on purpose, although he claimed he had been fixing a defect and only made the problem worse, causing it to sink.

Madsen, a self-described "inventrepaneur," was somewhat of a public figure in Denmark, known for his three crowdfunded, home-made submarines.

Denmark Peter Madsen Submarine
In this Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 photo, a private submarine sits on a pier in Copenhagen harbor, Denmark. Danish police say a DNA test from a headless torso found in the Baltic Sea matches with missing Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who is believed to have died on the private submarine. (Jens Dresling/Ritzau Foto via AP)

Wall was a 30-year-old freelance journalist from Sweden, and had degrees from Columbia University in New York, as well as the London School of Economics. Her reporting has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, TIME, The Atlantic, and others.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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