British bank exec gets life term for HK murders

The family of one of Rurik Jutting's murder victims welcome his life sentence but want compensation to raise her young son.
The judge described Jutting (centre) as the "archetypal sexual predator" who represented an extreme danger to women, especially in the sex trade. He cautioned that the possibility of a repeat crime would have been very likely.
The judge described Jutting (centre) as the "archetypal sexual predator" who represented an extreme danger to women, especially in the sex trade. He cautioned that the possibility of a repeat crime would have been very likely.PHOTO: SINOPIX

Jury rejects plea of manslaughter; he will apply to serve sentence in Britain

HONG KONG • For the rest of his life, British bank executive Rurik Jutting will wake up to the four walls of a Hong Kong prison cell.

On Tuesday a jury unanimously found the 31-year-old guilty of murdering Ms Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Ms Seneng Mujiasih, 26, after rejecting his plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The crimes carry a mandatory life sentence.

Judge Michael Stuart-Moore said this was one of the most horrifying cases the Chinese-ruled territory has known, where jurors were forced to watch gruesome footage of Jutting torturing one of his victims in his apartment before stuffing her mutilated corpse into a suitcase and leaving it on his balcony.

His lawyers have said he will apply to serve his sentence in Britain, where prisoners can in some cases apply for parole after a fixed number of years.

The judge agreed for an application to be filed, but said he would inform the authorities in Britain exactly what they would be dealing with and urged caution against falling for Jutting's "superficial charm".

Cambridge-educated Jutting, wearing a blue shirt, looked down and showed no emotion when the verdict was read out in an open courtroom packed with international and local journalists.

It took the jury, made up of four women and five men, around six hours, including a lunch break, to reach its decision.

In closing remarks, the judge described Jutting as the "archetypal sexual predator" who represented an extreme danger to women, especially in the sex trade. He cautioned that the possibility of a repeat crime would have been very likely.

The murders were even more damning because Jutting had been given every possible material advantage in life from a very privileged upbringing to a great career and immense pay cheque, the judge said.

"They are sickening in the extreme and beyond a normal person's imagination... There are insufficient superlatives to describe what he did."

Ms Sumarti's 61-year-old father, Mr Ahmad Kaliman, said he thought the verdict was appropriate. "I want to say thank you to Hong Kong's legal system for what they've done," he told Reuters TV calmly in his village in Central Java. "I hope we can get compensation to support (Sumarti's son)."

She leaves a seven-year-old son.

Both victims were from poor farming families and used to financially support their relatives back in Indonesia.

Ms Seneng's family said in a statement they were "devastated" by her death as she was the main person supporting her parents, and they were also seeking compensation.

Jutting, the grandson of a British policeman in Hong Kong and a local Chinese woman, had argued that cocaine and alcohol disorders as well as personality disorders of sexual sadism and narcissism had impaired his ability to control his behaviour.

The prosecution rejected this, stating Jutting was able to form judgments and exercise self-control before and after the killings, filming his torture of Ms Sumarti on his iPhone as well as hours of footage in which he discussed the murders, binging on cocaine and his graphic sexual fantasies.

Jutting exhaled deeply as he walked out of the courtroom, flanked by three police guards.

In a statement read out by his lawyer, Mr Tim Owen, Jutting said he was haunted daily by what he had done.

"The evil can never be remedied by me, nevertheless... I am so sorry. I am sorry beyond words."

Judge Stuart-Moore dismissed the apology, saying Jutting had not shown a shred of remorse.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2016, with the headline 'British bank exec gets life term for HK murders'. Print Edition | Subscribe