A policeman checks the crime scene at the British banker Rurik Jutting's residential flat where two Indonesian women's bodies were found in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district November 2, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu
A policeman checks the crime scene at the British banker Rurik Jutting's residential flat where two Indonesian women's bodies were found in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district November 2, 2014. Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu

The friendless loner who lived off takeaway food

Jutting's career seemed to be on a stellar trajectory, but by the time he reached Hong Kong, his life was unraveling

November 8, 2016 5:22 PM (UTC+8)

An academic star, a Cambridge graduate, a highly paid banker – but Rurik Jutting will now wake up each morning to the four walls of his Hong Kong prison cell.

As a securities trader, Jutting lived on the 31st floor of a fashionable apartment block with a rooftop pool, on a street lined with expensive boutiques and restaurants.

That upscale Hong Kong flat became a place of unimaginable horror two years ago when Jutting murdered two young Indonesian women there after offering them money for sex.

He tortured one of the victims for three days, filming part of her torment on his iPhone, before stuffing her mutilated corpse into a suitcase and leaving it on his balcony.

On Tuesday a jury unanimously found the 31-year-old guilty of murdering Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih after rejecting his plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The crimes carry a mandatory life sentence.

It was a crashing descent into depravity for the high-flyer who was brought up in leafy southeast England, studied at renowned British public school Winchester College and read history and law at Cambridge University.

He excelled academically, rowed for his Cambridge college Peterhouse and was secretary of the university history society.

Socially awkward

Described by friends as bright but aloof and “socially awkward”, Jutting built a career in finance, coming to Hong Kong in 2013 for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch.

His career seemed to be on a stellar trajectory – but by the time he reached Hong Kong, his life was unraveling.

Jutting had already started to binge on cocaine, alcohol and escorts in London and felt sidelined at work when he was transferred to Hong Kong by Bank of America.

The move to Asia came after he was identified as a serious risk to his employer, following a possible breach of regulations over marketing a tax product. He was monitored at work after that.

A friendless loner, living off takeaway food, drinking, taking cocaine and amassing debts, he became a regular visitor to the red light district of Wan Chai – just streets away from his upmarket home – and flew often to seedy Angeles City in the Philippines.

The bearded and bloated figure – a stark contrast to the clean-cut and slim pictures of university days – would hand out cash, buy drinks and ogle dancers on his Philippines trips, with one hostess becoming his girlfriend for a time, locals there told AFP.

His fascination with rape, torture and slavery escalated, and he began to seek out more submissive sex workers, his trial heard.

In the weeks before the killings he stepped up his cocaine intake and stopped going to work.

He says he finally crossed the line into “extreme sexual aggression” when he got his first victim, 23-year-old Ningsih, into his Hong Kong flat on the night of October 25, 2014, and held her captive before slashing her throat.

“She was unlucky to be the person in my flat when I realised that physically hurting someone under cocaine was something I gained satisfaction from,” Jutting told police interviewers.

“It awoke a part of me that I never knew existed.”

Days later he killed Mujiasih.

Personality disorders

Jutting’s case has been held up as an extreme example of bankers’ excess – Hong Kong’s expat, work-hard play-hard reputation taken to a grisly and tragic conclusion.

But the defense sought to characterize Jutting as mentally fragile: sexually assaulted at school, with a father who tried to commit suicide, he had a narcissistic personality disorder which made him arrogant, crave praise and attention but lack empathy, they said.

That, coupled with sexual sadism and substance abuse, created a lethal combination, they argued.

Jutting, clean-shaven and dramatically thinner, did not testify at his trial and mostly sat expressionless.

In police interviews shown in court he was self-possessed, speaking clearly and precisely about his crimes, carefully describing graphic photos he was shown by officers as if they were picture postcards, breaking down just once into tears.

Lawyers wrangled over whether Jutting was in control of his actions when he killed or whether he was ruled by personality disorders and drugs.

In the end, the jury – who had been forced to watch Jutting’s iPhone footage of his torture of Ningsih – decided he was sane.

The former high-flying banker is now a convicted murderer and prisoner.

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