Danish inventor denies killing reporter, mutilating body

Stockholm (AFP) - An eccentric Danish inventor who is being held over the grisly death of a Swedish reporter whose headless torso was found at sea has denied killing her and mutilating her body, police said Friday.

"The suspect denies homicide and desecration of a human body," Copenhagen police said in a statement, referring to Peter Madsen, 46, who is being held on suspicion of killing 30-year-old Kim Wall.

Madsen, held in formal custody since August 12 on suspicion of "negligent manslaughter", says Wall died in an accident on board a submarine he built, claiming that he subsequently dumped her body in the sea south of Copenhagen.

And he denies cutting off her legs and limbs.

Investigators say Wall's body was "deliberately" mutilated and weighed down with a metal object to try and avoid detection.

She was last seen on board Madsen's 60-foot (18-metre) Nautilus submarine on August 10 when she went to interview him. Investigators found traces of her blood inside the vessel.

Danish prosecutors are seeking to charge him with murder and have until September 5 to request an extension of his custody.

- Psychiatric evaluation -

Known for his foul temper and fallouts with former colleagues, Madsen, who describes himself as an "inventepreneur" on his website, is to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Wall was a freelance journalist who had reported for The New York Times and The Guardian. Her boyfriend reported her missing a day after the interview with Madsen.

That same day, Madsen was rescued from waters between Denmark and Sweden shortly before his submarine sank.

Investigators recovered and searched the sunken vessel, which police believe Madsen sank intentionally.

Madsen, who is reportedly married, has a reputation for histrionics and has angered many along his way.

The Nautilus was the biggest private sub ever made when Madsen built it in 2008 with help from a group of volunteers.

The volunteers were engaged in a dispute over the Nautilus between 2014 and 2015 before members of the board decided to transfer the vessel's ownership to Madsen, according to the website.

- 'Cursed' -

In 2015, Madsen had sent a text message to two members of the board claiming: "there is a curse on Nautilus".

"That curse is me. There will never be peace on Nautilus as long as I exist," Madsen wrote, according to a post written by the volunteers in Danish on the website.

Danish police are still searching for the clothes Wall wore on the submarine: an orange fleece, a skirt and white sneakers.

According to her former class mate and close friend Yan Cong, the sneakers had sentimental value.

"We sent each other photos of us wearing the sneakers during reporting trips from different parts of the world," Cong said.

"I believe she was wearing them when she went missing."

Wall was a graduate of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism who had planned to move to Beijing to pursue her career, Cong said.