Bri­tish banker found guilty of mur­der in­Hong Kong

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By JON LOWEin Hong Kong jon.lowe@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

A jury at Hong Kong’s High Court re­turned a unan­i­mous guilty ver­dict on Tues­day in the trial of Bri­tish banker Rurik Jut­ting, for the mur­ders of Su­marti Ningsih, 23, and Se­nengMu­ji­asih, 26, in 2014.

Jut­ting, a 31-year-old Bri­tish in­vest­ment banker, was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment by the judge, Jus­ticeMichael Stu­art-Moore, who said he is “an ex­treme dan­ger to women”.

His lawyer, Tim Owen, said his client will ap­ply to serve his sen­tence in the United King­dom un­der the Trans­fer of Sen­tenced Per­sons Agree­ment be­tweenHongKong and Bri­tain.

In a dra­matic, high-pro­file trial last­ing more than two weeks, which the judge said “must rank as one of the most hor­ri­fy­ing cases that has come to the courts of Hong Kong”, the Cam­bridge-ed­u­cated high­flier — who earned more than $500,000 a year work­ing for Bank of Amer­ica Mer­rill Lynch in Hong Kong — was found guilty af­ter less than six hours’ de­lib­er­a­tion by the jury of five men and four women.

Jut­ting — as he had been through­out the trial — was calm dur­ing his 45-minute fi­nal ap­pear­ance in court. His lawyer read out a state­ment in which the 31-year-old ac­cepted the ver­dict as just and said he was “sorry be­yond words”.

How­ever, the judge re­jected the sin­cer­ity of Jut­ting’s state­ment, say­ing the lat­ter is “the archetype of a sex­ual preda­tor” and an ex­treme dan­ger to women.

Jut­ting pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter on Oct 24, but this was re­jected by the pros­e­cu­tion, which went on to de­tail the mur­ders in an ex­plicit man­ner.

The jury was shown videos from Jut­ting’s iPhone, the au­dio of which was heard through­out the court­room. Some clips de­picted him tor­tur­ing Ningsih, his first vic­tim. In an­other, a naked Jut­ting pointed the cam­era at her body, ly­ing in a shower area with her throat cut.

Other videos fea­tured what Jut­ting later called his “nar­cis­sis­tic ram­blings” on sub­jects such as his sadis­tic urges, his ad­dic­tive use of pros­ti­tutes, sex­ual in­ter­est in meet­ing trans­sex­u­als and black male es­corts, as well as his abuse of co­caine and al­co­hol.

In the sec­ond week of the trial, the de­fense called two ex­pert wit­nesses from the UK, who tes­ti­fied that Jut­ting suf­fered from a com­bi­na­tion of men­tal prob­lems, in­clud­ing nar­cis­sis­tic per­son­al­ity dis­or­der and sex­ual sadism dis­or­der, as well as dis­or­ders re­lat­ing to co­caine and al­co­hol abuse.

But their tes­ti­mony was largely called into ques­tion by two psy­chi­a­trists from Hong Kong called by Prose­cu­tor John Read­ing. They judged that Jut­ting’s dis­or­ders did not ren­der him “not in con­trol of his ac­tions”.

In his sum­ming up on Mon­day, the judge warned the jury not to al­low thoughts of the vic­tims or Jut­ting’s “ap­palling life­style” to sway their judg­ment. He urged them to fo­cus only on whether the case had been made that the ac­cused’s men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity was sub­stan­tially im­paired when he car­ried out the killings.

The grue­some na­ture of the crimes shocked Hong Kong, a city with a low mur­der rate, and also sparked con­sid­er­able in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est, with many me­dia re­ports fo­cus­ing on the ex­trav­a­gant life­styles of highly paid ex­pa­tri­ates work­ing in bank­ing and fi­nance in the city.

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