Danish inventor Peter Madsen has claimed toxic fumes on his homemade submarine were responsible for the death of 30-year-old Swedish journalist Kim Wall.
Madsen, who is on trial in Copenhagen for the murder of Ms Wall in August 2017, denies killing her and says the journalist died of carbon monoxide poisoning after a technical fault led exhaust fumes to fill his vessel.
“I deny that I am guilty of the murder of Kim Wall,” the 47-year-old told the court, the BBC reports.
When Madsen was first questioned by police, he claimed Ms Wall died after a heavy hatch hit her on the head. But now, Madsen says he lied about the accident to spare her relatives from the grisly news.
“I was only thinking about Kim Wall’s relatives,” he told the court.
“It’s a very, very horrible story. I knew she was dead and she would not come back. I had only one purpose and it was to spare the relatives as much as possible.”
The inventor, who has admitted to dismembering Ms Wall's body and dumping it in the ocean, is charged with murder, dismemberment and aggravated sexual assault.
Asked why he dismembered her body, Madsen told the court: “I don't see how that mattered at that time, as she was dead."
Ms Wall disappeared after she boarded Mr Madsen’s home-made submarine on August 10. Ms Wall's boyfriend alerted police when the reporter didn't arrive home, after boarding the ship for what was supposed to be just a few hours for a story, The New York Times reports.
Police identified the torso of a woman they found on August 21 in Danish waters, south of Copenhagen, as Ms Wall. The body was missing its head, arms and legs.
Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Madsen if he is convicted.
According to The Guardian, the verdict is expected to be delivered on April 25