‘Beyond evil and looking for an excuse’: victims’ families lash out at murderer Rurik Jutting
Families of Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, are expected to file civil lawsuits seeking compensation from Jutting
Warning: the following article contains graphic descriptions of violence
The families of two Indonesian murder victims lashed out at a British banker behind the killings, saying the acts he committed were beyond evil and a crime no species would ever contemplate on their own kind.
The Post visited the poverty-stricken families of Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, in Indonesia, as emotions ran high during the widely followed trial of Rurik Jutting – whose savage and gruesome murder of the two women in Hong Kong put the city on edge.
On Tuesday Jutting was convicted of double murder by a Hong Kong jury.
Some family members of Sumarti and Seneng, distraught over the deaths of their loved ones and financially crippled due to the fact the women were breadwinners, told the Post that they would retaliate an eye for an eye, if they ever had a chance to confront Jutting in person.
Some also criticised the banker for blaming his acts on the influence of drugs. “It’s really just an excuse for him, so that perhaps he will get a lighter punishment,” Suyitno, the brother of Sumarti, said.
The Cambridge-educated banker, 31, was found guilty by the High Court of murdering the two women within days of each other at his residence in Wan Chai in 2014.
The court heard that before Sumarti was killed with a cut to the neck so deep that she was almost decapitated, she was tortured for three days, during which prosecutors said she was subjected to increasingly cruel acts of violence with a belt, sex toys, a pair of pliers and Jutting’s fists.
Both Sumarti and Seneng’s parents received little education, and the Indonesian press did not extensively cover the trial compared to 2014 when the murder was first reported, so the families have yet to learn the gruesome details that surfaced inside the courtroom.
Neither were Sumarti’s parents aware of the self-recorded ramblings of Jutting, as he spoke into his smartphone while the corpse of their daughter lay in the background.
They are nonetheless outraged. Sumarti’s 51-year-old mother said: “I am her mother and even I would never hurt her. Who are you to do so?”
“Why my daughter? Why did you torture her and even kill her? What’s her fault?,” she added. “Are you really human to do such things to another human being?”
“That’s beyond evil,” father Ahmad Kaliman, 61, said, adding that all his daughter intended was to come to Hong Kong to make a living for her family – yet she ended up being tortured and murdered.
They would never be able to forgive Jutting, who deserves a heavy punishment, the family said.
Seneng’s mother Juminem, 56, whose daughter’s throat was also slashed, admitted she could not hold back feelings of revenge.
During the trial, Jutting was willing to plead guilty to two counts of manslaughter, but not murder. The prosecution objected to his request.
Juminem said she failed to understand how Jutting could still deny he murdered her daughter.
Muji Harjo, 56, Seneng’s father, said he left it in the hands of the Hong Kong court to pass the most severe punishment possible.
Sumarti’s parents also questioned why they had not been kept informed by the Indonesian government, who did not provide details of Jutting’s trial to the victims’ families.
Both families, assisted by migrant worker’s rights activists in Hong Kong, are expected to file civil lawsuits against Jutting for compensation.
In a written statement on Tuesday, Sumarti’s brother said: “On behalf of our family, I hope the perpetrator will be punished severely [for] what he had done to Sumarti Ningsih and the other victim.”
He also demanded compensation from Jutting and appealed to the Indonesian government to provide scholarships for Sumarti’s son, so the seven-year-old will be able to finish his high school education.
Another statement from Seneng’s family said they hoped the perpetrator will be severely punished – or even executed. But Hong Kong does not have the death penalty.
The family also wants compensation from Jutting.
Below are the published statements of the families, translated into English by International Migrants Alliance chairwoman Eni Lestari:
I am Suyitno, the older brother of Sumarti Ningsih and representative of our family. Our family members are poor farmers from Cilacap, Central Java. There are four siblings consisting of my elder sister, myself, Sumarti and our younger brother. We finished only primary school, except for our younger brother who is still in high school.
When we were young, our family moved to other islands to seek a better life. However since it did not get any better, our parents decided to go back to Cilacap in 2005.
Due to the instability of our parents’ income as farmers, eventually my elder sister went to Jakarta in 2008 to work as a domestic worker. My elder sister was already married and left her son behind. Our parents actually couldn’t bear [to see her go] since she was still very young, but due to poverty, they could not stop her from leaving.
But after my elder sister left, she went missing – no news – and never returned. We already reported her missing at the local police station, and they said they would investigate, but up to now there has been no progress whatsoever.
Sumarti was married when she was only 17 years old and had her son when she was 18. But her husband left her even before she gave birth. Because of economic pressure, Sumarti was forced to leave her 49-day-old baby to work as domestic worker in the city. Then, after eight months of working, she went to Hong Kong for work in early 2011.
Sumarti worked in Hong Kong for two years and eight months. During that period, she diligently called our family and sent money home so our economic situation was improved because we had a stable income. Afterwards, she returned home for a few months and left for Hong Kong.
She came back another time and stayed for a few months, before leaving for Hong Kong once more. After that, we heard that she had been killed in Hong Kong.
We are very devastated by the death of Sumarti. This incident is a tragedy to our family. We have lost two daughters and two sisters. It’s hard for us to accept this reality.
After Sumarti’s death, our family’s economic situation has become worse as she was the only breadwinner. Our parents are getting older and are incapable of performing heavy work. Sumarti’s seven-year-old son has no more guarantee for his future.
Therefore, on behalf of our family, I hope the perpetrator will be punished severely according to what he did to Sumarti and the other victim. I also demand compensation from this perpetrator.
I also demand that the Indonesian government provide scholarships to Sumarti’s son so he will be able to finish his schooling, at least until high school, because we have no more income to ensure his education [is taken care of].
Seneng Mujiasih was the second child of two siblings, born to a poor family. Her parents and grandmother migrated from Slemen or Central Java to West Mina District in Southeast Sulawesi.
Due to their poverty and unstable jobs, her parents took on odd jobs as rice farm workers, domestic workers and gardeners.
Because of this, young Seneng was often left alone with her grandmother at their house. Seneng graduated from high school. She was an outgoing person, not arrogant and she had many friends.
As a child, she had no aspirations whatsoever and told her mother “when I’ve finished school, I want to work so Mama will not be miserable”.
After graduating from school, she worked odd jobs for a month before applying to the recruitment agency to work abroad.
She went to Hong Kong in 2007 and worked as a domestic worker. After finishing two years under contract, she returned to her hometown in 2009. But soon after, she went back to Hong Kong.
Until now, the family regrets allowing her to work again. If she had not left, she would not have died.
While working in Hong Kong, Seneng frequently contacted her family, especially when she was on holiday. She also regularly sent money to her family – about five million rupiah, equivalent to HK$3,000, every two months.
The family was devastated over her death as she was the only daughter and the main support for her parents. Her only brother has married, so he is unable to support both their parents and elderly grandmother.
Since Seneng’s death, her mother has suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, which damaged her eyesight. Her father was unable to work any more because he needed to take care of his wife and elderly grandmother. Once a week, the family had to buy medicine for the mother costing more than 100,000 rupiah , or HK$70.
The family hopes the perpetrator will be severely punished and, if possible, executed. The family is also seeking compensation for the death of Seneng.
The Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body is raising funds for the two victims’ families over two weeks. You can donate at:
Account name: Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong
Account address: Nathan Road, Jordan, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
Account number: 127-7-027379
Bank name: HSBC
Please SMS or Whatsapp your receipt to 6992 0878.