Briton in HK to stand trial for 2 murders next year

Two Indonesian women were found mutilated in the flat of former securities trader Rurik Jutting.
Two Indonesian women were found mutilated in the flat of former securities trader Rurik Jutting.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • A Briton accused of murdering two Indonesian women who were found mutilated in his upscale Hong Kong apartment will stand trial next year.

Rurik Jutting, a 30-year-old former Bank of America-Merrill Lynch employee, has been charged with two counts of murder.

In a brief hearing at Hong Kong's High Court yesterday, the trial date was set for Oct 25 next year - two years after the killings.

Jutting, who did not appear in court, will face a jury trial which is set to take 20 days.

The one-time securities trader has yet to enter a formal plea. However, at a magistrates' hearing in May, he indicated that he may plead not guilty to the murder charges. When magistrate Jason Wan asked: "I take it as not guilty?" he replied: "Correct."

Jutting would face life in prison if convicted of the murder charges.

Ms Seneng Mujiasih and Ms Sumarti Ningsih, both in their 20s and described by Hong Kong media as prostitutes, were found dead in Jutting's flat early on Nov 1 last year after he called police to the scene.

Ms Mujiasih was found in the living room, naked and with knife wounds to her legs and buttocks, while the decaying body of Ms Ningsih was found hours later in a suitcase on the balcony.

The killings shocked the city of seven million - regarded as generally safe - and shone a spotlight on the seedy underbelly of the financial hub.

Police have said cocaine and sex toys were found in Jutting's apartment, just a few streets away from Hong Kong's red light district, where he was reportedly a regular.

The high-flying Cambridge graduate is being held at a maximum security prison in Lai Chi Kok. He was deemed fit to stand trial last November after psychiatric tests.

When asked about the length of time before the trial date, Jutting's lawyer Michael Vidler said it was a "court scheduling matter".

A pre-trial hearing is set for Aug 24.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2015, with the headline 'Briton in HK to stand trial for 2 murders next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe