British banker found guilty of murder inHong Kong
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.