British banker denies murdering 2 women in Hong Kong

Hong Kong, Oct 24 (IANS) A former British banker has pleaded not guilty to murdering two Indonesian women found dead at his Hong Kong apartment in 2014, blaming a “personality disorder” for the killings, a media report said.

Appearing in Hong Kong’s High Court on Monday, Rurik Jutting, 31, denied two counts of murder, claiming diminished responsibility. He said he would plead guilty to two counts of manslaughter and one count of preventing lawful burial, CNN reported.

The prosecution said they would not accept his manslaughter plea and will now press for a murder conviction. Prosecutors claimed that Jutting had tortured one of the two women for days before murdering her, describing the case as “horrible” and “shocking”.

Jutting filmed the murders on his phone in videos so gruesome they will be shown to the jury in a separate room, out of sight of the public gallery, the prosecutors added.

Prosecutors told the court that the first victim, Sumarti Ningsih, 23, was offered a large sum of money to return to his apartment for sex. They claimed Jutting performed increasingly cruel acts of torture on the woman over three days, before cutting her throat and putting her body on the balcony.

The prosecution said he then recorded himself on video describing how he had raped her. Jutting then purchased some pliers, a hammer, some plastic ties and sheets of sandpaper, among other items, before inviting the second woman, Mujiasih, 29, up to his apartment, CNN reported.

When she saw some of the items, prosecutors said she tried to escape and was killed when she refused to stop shouting. Jutting first appeared at the Magistrates’ Court in 2014.

Ningsih had sustained severe knife wounds to her neck and buttocks while the decomposing body of Mujiasih, thought to have been killed several days earlier, had been stuffed into a suitcase on the apartment’s balcony, the Guardian reported.

Jutting did not give a plea in 2014, but psychology reports said he was fit to stand trial.

The women, both of whom were breadwinners for their families in Indonesia, had first arrived in Hong Kong as domestic workers but at the time of the murders did not have the proper working documents.

“The culprit abused their vulnerability because they have no family in the city, poor and desperate for income to support their families back home. The victims deserve justice regardless of their immigration status and type of job here,” said an official of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body (AMCB).

The AMCB on Sunday also held a vigil for Ningsih and Mujiasih at Victoria Park, a little over two km from the flashy high-rise apartment in Wan Chai where the women allegedly met their deaths, EFE news reported.

According to eFinancialCareers news, Jutting, a Cambridge alumni, had resigned from his high-earning job in equity finance only a few days before the women were killed, leaving an automated signature on his work e-mail in which he referred to himself as “an insane psychopath”.

The verdict from the 15-day trial is expected to be announced on November 11.