CRIME

Victim’s relative sheds light on identities of corpses found in British banker’s flat

Bodies of two young Indonesian women found in British banker's upscale apartment – and they may have died days apart

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 November, 2014, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 November, 2014, 2:48pm

A relative of one of the two women found murdered in a British banker’s flat in Wan Chai on Saturday has provided crucial information on the identities of the two victims, a police source said.

Police were able to identify Sumarti Ningsih, 25, as one of the victims with the help of her cousin, who also lives in Hong Kong, the source said. 

Ningsih entered Hong Kong from Indonesia on a tourist visa last month. The source said Ningsih had been arrested on suspicion of breaching her conditions of stay in the territory.

The cousin, who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong, told officers that she knew the second victim. Aged between 25 and 30, the second victim apparently worked as a part-time disc jockey in a pub, the cousin told police, according to the source. Police are still verifying the second victim’s identity, the source said. 

A 29 year-old British citizen was arrested early on Saturday in connection with the killing of the two women after he called police to his Wan Chai apartment.

Officers arrived at his 31st-floor apartment in Johnston Road at around 3.45am on Saturday. There, they found the body of the woman whose identity has yet to be verified in his living room. Her throat had been slashed. Hours later, Ningsih’s body was found stuffed in a suitcase on the apartment’s balcony.

It is believed that the women may have been killed days apart.

Sources have identified the suspect as Rurik George Caton Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate who moved to Hong Kong last year. According to his LinkedIn profile and records from the UK Financial Services Register, he worked for Barclays in London, where he later joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch to work in structured equity finance and trading.

While a source said Jutting recently resigned from his job, it was not immediately clear when exactly he left the bank.

The bank previously had an employee of that name, Paul Scanlon, a bank spokesman, said. He declined to comment further. 

A police source said the flat at J Residence, a high-end block at 60 Johnston Road favoured by junior expatriate bankers, was "covered in blood’’.

The woman, whose identity has yet to be verified, was found naked in the living room with knife wounds to her neck and buttocks. "Two cut wounds were found in her neck and her throat was slashed," the source said.

CCTV footage showed the woman and the suspect, who has not been charged, had returned to the flat around midnight.

About eight hours after the first body was found, Ningsih’s naked corpse was discovered wrapped in a carpet inside a black suitcase on the flat’s balcony. "She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes," the source said. Her passport was found at the scene.

An initial investigation found that the body in the suitcase had been there for three to four days and had started to decompose.

"We believe the woman had been dead for quite some time," said Wan Siu-hung, Wan Chai assistant district commander for crime.

He said the time gap between the bodies’ discovery was because police had to follow strict procedures to collect the evidence in the living room before searching the balcony.

A small quantity of cocaine was found in the living room. "We are investigating whether [the suspect] was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the incident," the source said. The suspect was appeared to be dazed when police arrived at this home on Saturday. It is understood that police have not been able to take a statement from him in the night to Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London confirmed that a British national had been arrested in Hong Kong. “We are in touch with the local police and stand ready to provide consular assistance," she said. 

One person who has lived at J Residence for about a year said he had noticed an odd smell recently. "There was a stink in the building like a dead animal," he said. "It was a shock because you would never expect something like this to happen in Hong Kong."

He said the building’s occupants were mainly expatriates. The rent for a 500 square foot flat at J Residence ranges from HK$25,000 to HK$30,000.

Police are now examining Jutting’s mobile phone. Photos of one of the two dead women were among the approximately 2,000 photos police found on the suspect’s smartphone, a police source said.

The photos were apparently taken after Ningsih had died, the police source said. “Police are investigating whether there are more victims,” the source said.

Detectives are also contacting pubs and vice establishments in the area to gather evidence and learn more about the background of the two dead women found in the British banker’s flat on Saturday after initial assessments suggested that they were sex workers.

The murders are the latest in a series of shocking crimes the city has seen in recent months.

A police source said the scene of the murder in Wan Chai was among the grisliest seen since the so-called "milkshake murder" in 2003, when a high-flying American banker’s wife served him a strawberry milkshake full of sedatives before bludgeoning him to death.

READ MORE: Murders grip the attention in Hong Kong, one of the world's safest cities

 
 
 

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