British double murderer appeals HK conviction

Hong Kong police on guard as a prison van drives Briton Rurik Jutting into the High Court for his appeal hearing yesterday.
Hong Kong police on guard as a prison van drives Briton Rurik Jutting into the High Court for his appeal hearing yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • A British banker jailed for life for the horrifying murders of two Indonesian women at his upscale Hong Kong apartment in a cocaine-fuelled rampage has appealed against his conviction.

Cambridge University graduate Rurik Jutting tortured Ms Sumarti Ningsih for three days - filming parts of her ordeal on his phone - before slashing her throat and stuffing her body into a suitcase.

Days later, and with Ms Ningsih's corpse on his balcony, the former Bank of America employee picked up Ms Seneng Mujiasih, intending to play out the same fantasies. He killed her when she started screaming.

Jutting, now 32, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was found guilty of murder, with the judge saying the killings were "sickening in the extreme".

Jutting's defence team yesterday argued that Judge Michael Stuart-Moore had repeatedly given wrong directions to the jury during the trial last year when explaining how they should determine whether his state of mind had impaired his responsibility.

Defence lawyer Gerard McCoy argued that the judge had wrongly told the jury to look for mental "disorders" rather than the broader spectrum of "abnormality of the mind". "Abnormality of mind need not be a disorder," he the court yesterday.

Not all four medical experts who testified agreed that Jutting's behaviour met the criteria for a "disorder" in all four areas, said Mr McCoy.

But they did all find that Jutting was suffering from an abnormality of mind because he had impaired mental functioning, he added.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2017, with the headline 'British double murderer appeals HK conviction'. Print Edition | Subscribe