HK double killing: Accused sexually abused at school, court told

HONG KONG • The British banker accused of murdering two Indonesian women in his upscale Hong Kong apartment is a narcissistic sexual sadist who had been abused at school, a court heard yesterday.

Rurik Jutting, a 31-year-old Cambridge graduate, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The prosecution has rejected the lesser plea.

Jutting is accused of murdering Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, two years ago, slashing their throats after saying he would pay them for sex.

He tortured Ms Ningsih inside his apartment for three days before killing her and stuffing her body in a suitcase found on his balcony.

As the trial entered its second week, the defence said Jutting suffered from narcissistic personality disorder and sexual sadism disorder, as well as heavy use of cocaine and alcohol.

Forensic psychiatrist Richard Latham, called as a defence witness, said Jutting had told him he was abused at renowned English private school Winchester College.

A report from Dr Latham read out in court said a boy had forced Jutting to perform oral sex on him at school. "He described it in a way that he was a victim of sexual assault," the psychiatrist said, adding it had been an important event in Jutting's life. Jutting's father had also tried to commit suicide when he was 16, the court heard.

Despite appearing as though he was functioning well, Jutting had encountered problems in relationships and work, said Dr Latham.

People with narcissistic personality disorder found it difficult to empathise with others and sought constant praise, he added.

"When that breaks down, the consequence is dramatic," Dr Latham told the court. Jutting had became increasingly interested in torture, rape and slavery as things that made him sexually excited, the psychiatrist said.

His disorders, mixed with the consumption of cocaine and alcohol, had affected his behaviour, said the psychiatrist. "At the time of the killings, his ability to control his behaviour was substantially impaired," Dr Latham said.

When asked by judge Michael Stuart-Moore whether voluntary intoxication constituted a defence, Dr Latham said the drive to take drugs and alcohol was "extremely difficult to resist". He said Jutting had a "very high opinion of himself" and likened his life to the film, The Truman Show. Under cross-examination, the psychiatrist said Jutting thought "his life was so significant and special" that thousands of people would be watching it.

During court breaks, Jutting gestured animatedly to defence lawyers as he spoke to them from the dock.

The court heard how Jutting had been unhappy at work in London and by 2012 was drinking heavily, consuming 84 units of alcohol a week - the equivalent of 14 bottles of wine. Arriving in Hong Kong to work for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in 2013, he continued drinking and had no social life. The point of drinking was to "achieve complete blackout", Dr Latham's report said.

Ms Ningsih and Ms Mujiasih were found dead in Jutting's flat in the early hours of Nov 1, 2014.

The defence continues today.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'HK double killing: Accused sexually abused at school, court told'. Print Edition | Subscribe