A JURY in Hong Kong has convicted Rurik Jutting, the British former banker implicated in the 2014 killings of two Indonesian women, in the gruesome case that shocked the Chinese financial hub.
The nine-person jury returned their unanimous verdicts in the High Court on Tuesday after deliberating behind closed doors for nearly four hours.
The jury, comprising four women and five men found the 31-year-old Jutting guilty of murder in the death of 23-year-old Sumarti Ningsih. Prosecutors said Jutting was using cocaine and alcohol while he tortured her for three days and then slit her throat.
Jurors were shown graphic smartphone video clips of the torture filmed by Jutting, who stuffed her body inside a suitcase that he left on the balcony of his upscale apartment near Hong Kong’s famous Wan Chai red-light district.
The jury also found Jutting guilty of the murder of 26-year-old Seneng Mujiasih, who was killed days later.
According to the Associated Press, Jutting faces a mandatory life sentence. He had earlier pleaded not guilty to murder when the trial began two weeks ago but had attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.
The ruling on Tuesday marked the end of a 10-day high-profile trial which saw lawyers, journalists, and members of the public from all over the world flock the courtroom with some being forced to wait outside due to the overly-packed venue, the South China Morning Post reported.
Clad in a light blue shirt and black trousers, Jutting appeared calm when listening to the two verdicts on Tuesday afternoon.
After the verdicts were read out, his lawyer, Tim Owen QC, read out a statement on his behalf, acknowledging the jury’s attentiveness throughout the trial.
“They’ve delivered a verdict that I cannot and will not have an objection,” Jutting was quoted as saying.
“I accept this as a just and appropriate judgment,” he said.
Jutting added: “The evil I have inflicted can never be remedied by me in words or by action.”
Jutting's victims: how two Indonesian women met their deaths in Hong Kong https://t.co/6emSxOH6OW
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 8, 2016
According to the SCMP, the Cambridge-educated former Bank of America-Merrill Lynch employee said his actions had haunted him daily due to the pain caused to the victims’ families, especially Sumarti’s young son.
Days before the murder in November 2014, Jutting had quit his job at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch where he reportedly set up an automated email reply describing himself as an “insane psychopath”.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors told the Hong Kong court that Jutting used pliers, sex toys and a belt to torture Sumarti.
After torturing Sumarti, Jutting used a serrated knife to kill her. He then wrapped her body in plastic sheets and blankets and packed it inside a suitcase.
Detailing how the accused met the victim, prosecutor John Reading said Jutting had solicited her sexual services at a hotel. He said after their first meeting, the victim offered to refund half the cash to leave early as Jutting was reportedly violent to her.
The prosecutor explained that on Oct 26, 2014, Jutting offered Sumarti who was in Hong Kong on a 30-day tourist visa, an undisclosed amount of money to meet with him again. She reluctantly accepted the offer.
On Oct 31, five days after slaying Sumarti, Jutting met Seneng for the first time at a bar in Wan Chai. Reading said Jutting brought his second victim home after offering her money for sex. Before that, however, the prosecutor said the banker hid two knives under cushions of a sofa and also bought a small blowtorch, plastic ties and a hammer.
Reading said Jutting cut Seneng’s throat that same night. The bodies of the two women were discovered on Nov 1, 2014 after Jutting called the police.
The prosecutor said police discovered Seneng’s body in a pool of blood, laying face down in the apartment’s living room. A police officer said she was found naked and had cuts to her neck and buttocks.
Hours later, police also found Sumarti’s partially decapitated body in the suitcase on the balcony.
At the time of the death of the duo, Indonesian women make up almost half of the island’s 319,325 documented migrant workers.
The 2014 murders had sent shock waves in the former British colony, which has a reputation for being safe, while highlighting the disparity between the city’s elite and poor. The murders also brought the extravagant lifestyles of the privileged expat community in Hong Kong to the fore.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press