Saturday 18 November 2017

UK banker found guilty of gruesome Hong Kong murders

A migrant workers alliance group hold placards to protest the killings of two Indonesian women in 2014 outside the High Court in Hong Kong
A migrant workers alliance group hold placards to protest the killings of two Indonesian women in 2014 outside the High Court in Hong Kong

Alicia Richards in Hong Kong

A British banker has been found guilty of murdering two Indonesian women in Hong Kong in a gruesome case which shocked the Chinese financial hub.

Rurik Jutting was convicted unanimously by a nine-person jury at the High Court yesterday of killing 23-year-old Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih (26).

Prosecutors said Jutting was using cocaine while he tortured Ms Sumarti for three days and then slit her throat.

Jurors were shown graphic smartphone video clips of the torture filmed by the 31-year-old, who stuffed her body inside a suitcase that he left on the balcony of his luxury apartment near Hong Kong's famous Wan Chai red light district. Ms Seneng Mujiasih was killed days later.

Jutting now faces a mandatory life sentence.

He had pleaded not guilty to murder when his trial began two weeks ago but attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility. Prosecutors rejected that argument but the jury could have considered it.

Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate, was working at the Hong Kong office of Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in structured equity finance and trading at the time of the killings. He had offered both women large sums of money to go to his apartment to have sex.

Ms Seneng was in Hong Kong on a tourist visa after an earlier stay as a foreign maid. Ms Sumarti was officially on a maid visa but was working at a bar. The trial was told how Jutting sought solace in the endless drifting between his luxury apartment in the Wan Chai district and his office with frequent visits to his favourite local pub, the Old China Hand.

However, he would mostly enjoy spending time in Hong Kong's sleazy nightclubs, where young girls from poor communities in Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines would often dance with rich expats, making them feel like demigods.

His defence lawyer, Tim Owen QC, said Jutting told his employers he was HIV positive, an elaborate excuse for his increasing absenteeism and a clear sign that he was starting to lose his grip on reality.

Jutting was also becoming more adventurous in his sexual exploits. He was seeking transsexual prostitutes and gay men, and more disturbingly, anyone willing to help him indulge in his increasingly vulgar fantasies of torture, rape and slavery.

He was testing things on his sexual partners that "were not really consensual", UK-based forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Latham told the court.

Jutting's slide into sexual sadism came as he appeared to detach himself from areas of his life which had offered a certain level of stability.

By the summer of 2014, he had no long-term friends, was no longer in contact with his mother and became withdrawn. His employers warned him that they were monitoring his work.

Jutting's daily diet consisted of three grams of pure cocaine and energy drinks, along with six bottles of wine and spirits. He had become bloated and unshaven and was having suicidal thoughts. Jutting's use of cocaine was dominating his thoughts and actions. He had lost his mind, his lawyers said.

In video ramblings he made during the killings, he said cocaine had unleashed his "darkest fantasies", which included kidnapping British schoolgirls.

Dr Latham said Jutting's addictions, combined with his sexual sadism and narcissistic personality disorders, meant he was not in control of what he was doing at the time of the murders.

Irish Independent

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