Hong Kong double murder: British suspect tortured one victim for 3 days

British banker Rurik Jutting (second left) being taken in a prison van to the Eastern Court in Hong Kong on May 8, 2015.
British banker Rurik Jutting (second left) being taken in a prison van to the Eastern Court in Hong Kong on May 8, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - A Hong Kong court on Monday (Oct 24) heard how British banker Rurik Jutting tortured one of his victims for three days as the trial opened into the killings of two Indonesian women at his upscale apartment.

Jutting, 31, had earlier on Monday pleaded "not guilty" to two counts of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The prosecution rejected the lesser plea.

The court heard Jutting filmed both women on his iPhone and jurors were warned by Judge Michael Stuart-Moore that the footage was "very shocking indeed".

"The defendant even recorded on his iPhone part of the torture that he inflicted on his first victim," Judge Stuart-Moore said.

Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih, both in their 20s, were found dead in Jutting's flat in the early hours of Nov 1, 2014, after he called police.

Prosecutor John Reading said Ningsih was tortured for three days at Jutting's apartment in Wan Chai, where expensive homes lie close to a red-light district.

Jutting then killed her in the shower with a serrated knife, Mr Reading said.

Ningsih who was in Hong Kong on a visitor visa, had sex with Jutting on a previous occasion at a hotel for an amount of money, Mr Reading said, but had offered to refund half the cash to be allowed to leave early, because he treated her violently.

She had reluctantly agreed to meet Jutting again on Oct 26 when he offered her another amount of money which was not specified.

After she was killed, her body was wrapped in plastic sheets and blankets, and put inside a suitcase, Mr Reading said.

 
 
 

Jutting recorded footage describing how he had enjoyed the killing and saying he could not have done it without using cocaine.

Late on Oct 31, Jutting met Mujiasih at a bar in Wan Chai and brought her home after offering her money for sex. They had never met before, said Mr Reading.

Mujiasih was in Hong Kong on a domestic helper visa, he said.

Before going out to meet her, Jutting hid two knives under sofa cushions. He had also bought a small blowtorch, plastic ties and a hammer, Mr Reading said.

"In one of his interviews with the police, the accused explained how he went out that evening hunting for prey, and that Mujiasih was his prey," Mr Reading said.

Jutting cut Mujiasih's throat that night.

When police arrived after Jutting called them, they discovered her body in a pool of blood in the living room, said Mr Reading.

Ningsih's body was found hours later in a suitcase on the balcony.

Cambridge graduate Jutting, a former securities trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, faces a three-week jury trial and life in prison if convicted on the murder charges.

The killings shocked the city of seven million - typically regarded as safe and known for its glitzy skyscrapers - and shone a spotlight on the seedy underbelly of the financial hub.

Jutting was deemed fit to stand trial following psychiatric tests and is being held at a maximum security prison.

Clean-shaven, much thinner than during his first court appearances, and wearing a dark-blue shirt, Jutting calmly entered his official plea for the first time on Monday, saying: "Not guilty to murder by reason of diminished responsibility, but guilty to manslaughter".

He pleaded guilty to a third charge of preventing the burial of a body.

Outside the court, a small group of protesters from Indonesian migrant worker organisations called for a "speedy and fair trial" and for compensation for the victims' families.