September 5, 2017 10:38 PM EDT

A Danish submarine owner accused of killing Kim Wall has told a court the Swedish journalist died aboard his vessel accidentally after being hit by a hatch cover.

Testifying at Copenhagen Court Tuesday, Peter Madsen, 46, said he had lost his footing while holding open the submarine’s heavy hatch, the BBC reports. It then slammed shut, he claimed, striking Wall.

“There was a pool of blood where she had landed,” Madsen said.

Wall’s body was recovered in Danish waters on August 23. She was last seen alive on Aug. 10 boarding a submarine built by Madsen — an inventor she was profiling for a story. The following day, the navy rescued Madsen from his sinking submarine, hours after police began searching for Wall.

Read more: ‘She Gave Voice to the Weak.’ What to Know About Slain Journalist Kim Wall

Prosecutors accuse the Dane of killing Wall, mutilating her body, and deliberately sinking the submarine. But on Tuesday Madsen insisted her death was an accident, and said that after attempting to bury her at sea he had intended to commit suicide.

“In the shock I was in, it was the right thing to do,” Madsen said when asked why he threw the journalist overboard.

The inventor initially told police he dropped Wall off in Copenhagen on Aug. 10 before later amending the story.

[BBC]

Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@time.com.

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