Rurik Jutting found guilty of brutal double murder in Hong Kong, sentenced to life in jail
Briton convicted over murder of Indonesians Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih; judge rejects banker’s apology to victims’ families and friends
A British investment banker who brutally slit the throats of two Indonesian women he paid for sex in 2014 was jailed for life after he was convicted of double murder by a Hong Kong jury on Tuesday.
Rurik Jutting, 31, appeared calm as the two unanimous verdicts were read out before a full house after four hours of deliberation by a nine-strong jury comprising four women and five men.
He said in a statement read out before sentencing in the High Court that he “cannot and will not” object to the verdict returned by what he described as “attentive” jurors as a life sentence was “a just and appropriate judgment” for what he did to Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, and the acute pain he brought to their families.
“The evil I have inflicted can never be remedied by me in words or actions,” he penned on Monday night. “Nevertheless for whatever it may be worth, to Sumarti Ningsih’s family and friends, to Seneng Mujiasih’s family and friends, I am sorry. I am sorry beyond words.”
But that was not accepted by deputy judge Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore, who said: “Let no one be fooled by the defendant’s superficial charm. [He] has not shown a shred of remorse.”
The verdicts meant the jury had unanimously rejected Jutting’s claim of diminished responsibility induced by his alcohol and cocaine use – to the relief of the victims’ families.
Sumarti’s brother Suyitno thanked the judgment for “giving the murderer what is due to him”.
“We feel relieved that there is a judgment after waiting for two years but the judgment will not bring my sister back,” he told the Post.
Seneng’s mother, who visited her daughter’s grave, burst into tears after hearing the verdict.
Eni Lestari, chairwoman of the International Migrants Alliance, said the families were thankful for the jury result but they were still at a loss, struggling financially while preparing a civil suit for compensation against Jutting.
The Briton, meanwhile, is expected to make an application under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement signed with Britain to serve his sentence in his homeland.
Stuart-Moore said he would make sure “the English authorities will know the exact type of person they will have to deal with” as he characterised the murders as “one of the most horrifying cases” tried in Hong Kong courts.
“There are insufficient superlatives to describe the cruelty he’s done to Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih,” the judge said.
The 10-day trial heard that Jutting, who then weighed 90kg, imprisoned Sumarti for three days in October 2014 and inflicted extreme torture before he killed the Indonesian – despite claiming that he loved her.
“She could put up no resistance even to his most depraved acts,” the judge said. “No wonder she was scared, she weighed 37kg.”
The experience, as Jutting later recounted to police, made him realise that the combination of alcohol and cocaine plus the physical torture of someone gave him an unprecedented sense of enjoyment that made him understand it was not going to be a one-off event.
Four days later, on October 31, he spent nearly HK$7,000 shopping for sex toys and hardware like a hammer, pliers and concrete nails, and picked up Seneng from a bar in Wan Chai in the hope of inflicting even more cruel torture.
But his attempts at recreating the imprisonment soon failed as within 20 minutes of her arrival, Seneng started shouting and struggling until she was eventually overpowered by Jutting.
Both women died of cut wounds to the neck.
The judge said Jutting should have and could have exercised self-control over his alcohol and cocaine use but instead used them to fuel his sadistic sexual fantasies that he later turned into reality.
He was, Stuart-Moore said, the “archetypal sexual predator” posing an extreme danger to sex workers who were already most vulnerable to sexual assault and violent deaths.
“He described himself as evil and a monster, and neither description is adequate,” the judge said. “No sex worker is safe if this defendant is free to indulge his craving.”