News World News

Saturday 14 December 2019

Man remanded over Hong Kong murders

Rurik George Caton Jutting is pictured in a police van before appearing in court (AP/Apple Daily)
Rurik George Caton Jutting is pictured in a police van before appearing in court (AP/Apple Daily)

A British banker has appeared in court in connection with the gruesome murders of two women in Hong Kong.

Rurik George Caton Jutting was arrested after the bodies of the women - reportedly sex workers from south east Asia - were found at his flat in the Wan Chai district of the former British colony in the early hours of Saturday.

One of the victims died six days before her body was discovered in a suitcase.

The two murder charges were read to Jutting, who wore black trousers and a black T-shirt, and he was remanded in custody to appear again on November 10.

Jutting asked to be remanded in prison rather than police custody and was granted his request by the judge.

Martyn Richmond, a temporary lawyer assigned to him, complained that police refused to let him contact a lawyer of his choice or the British Consulate while in custody.

Mr Richmond said that if Jutting's requests were granted, he "may well co-operate" with a police reconstruction at the crime scene

The 29-year-old is a Cambridge-educated investment banker who had been employed at Bank of America Merrill Lynch until recently.

He moved to Hong Kong from London in July last year and is understood to have quit his highly paid job in the last few days.

Before leaving he appeared to have set a chilling automatic response for his email account at the bank which seemed to imply that he is an "insane psychopath".

The email response read: "I am out of the office. Indefinitely. For urgent enquiries, or indeed any enquiries, please contact someone who is not an insane psychopath. For escalation please contact God, though suspect the devil will have custody (Last line only really worked if I had followed through)."

Last Monday he posted a picture on Facebook of his high-rise balcony in the upmarket 40-storey J Residence where he was living and commented that he was embarking on a "new journey".

He wrote: "Stepping down from the ledge. Burden lifted; new journey begins. Scared and anxious but also excited. The first step is always the hardest."

Jutting's alleged killing spree came to an end when he called police at 3.42am on Halloween night.

CCTV footage from his building showed him returning with a "sexily dressed" woman, according to local press reports.

After arriving at the address in the early hours of Saturday police seized a knife.

The first victim, named locally as Jesse Lorena Ruri, a Filipina prostitute in her 30s, was found in the living room of the 31st-floor apartment with wounds to her neck and buttock.

She was "unresponsive" when police arrived and died soon afterwards.

According to reports police discovered the body of the second woman, named in a court document as 25-year-old Sumarti Ningsih, when officers found a suitcase on the balcony with feet hanging out eight hours later.

She was killed on October 27, six days before her body was discovered in an advanced state of decomposition.

A police source quoted by the South China Morning Post said: "She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs had been bound with ropes. She was naked and wrapped in a towel before being stuffed into the suitcase. Her passport was found at the scene."

Assistant police commander Wan Siu-hung reportedly told reporters that officers had not discovered the second body sooner because they were collecting evidence in the living room first.

Indonesian Consulate spokeswoman Sam Aryadi said Ms Ningsih came from the city of Cilacap in Central Java.

Following Jutting's arrest a neighbour told the South China Morning Post there had been a strange smell.

"There was a stink in the building like a dead animal," the man said. "It was a shock because you would never expect something like this to happen in Hong Kong."

The paper reported that there had been a series of "shocking crimes" in the city in recent months but added that it has a "hard-earned and well-deserved" reputation as one of the safest cities in the world.

A friend who knew Jutting from his days as a student at Cambridge University said he was "awkward" around girls.

The friend told the Sun: "He was never one of the loud boys but he showed his masculinity in other ways. He was a member of the rowing club and then got a career in the very masculine world of investment banking."

A female friend said the crimes Jutting is accused of are "not in his character", adding that he was "hard-working and intelligent - a gentleman".

Jutting reportedly grew up in Cobham, Surrey, where his parents still live.

He is believed to have attended £35,000-a-year Winchester College before reading history at Cambridge.

After graduating he landed a job in the City and lived in Wapping, east London.

His LinkedIn profile states that he worked from 2008 to 2010 in structured capital markers at Barclays before moving to work at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in July 2010.

Jutting's mother Helen did not want to comment when she was approached at the ShakeAway milkshake store she runs in Woking, Surrey.

Neighbours in Cobham explained that Mrs Jutting used to run a Tumble Tots nursery.

They described the murder suspect's parents as "normal, hard-working people" who "kept themselves to themselves".

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News