Judge slams ‘Rurik Jutting-like’ killer who dumped girlfriend’s battered body on Hong Kong street
Jury takes just 20 minutes to convict Fyaz Wahaj, 32, of Indonesian girlfriend’s murder after he disposed of body like ‘rubbish’ under mattress cover
A High Court jury in Hong Kong took just 20 minutes on Thursday to convict a Pakistani man of murder – with a judge likening the way in which he disposed of his girlfriend’s body to that of notorious British banker Rurik Jutting’s double killing.
Fyaz Wahaj, 32, was jailed for life. The unemployed man was originally accused of leaving his Indonesian girlfriend Wiji Astutik Supardi, 37, to die under a white mattress cover outside his building in Mong Kok – using what prosecutors called a not “uncommon” scene as a cover – after beating her in 2015.
Just 20 minutes after the panel of seven jurors retired at around 10.15am, they informed court staff that they had reached verdicts that would normally take hours if not days to arrive at.
When the court resumed at around 11am, the jury returned unanimous verdicts to find the defendant guilty of both the murder and a further count of preventing the lawful burial of a body.
Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping slammed the defendant for dumping his girlfriend – a torture claimant who previously worked as a domestic helper – on the street like “rubbish”.
She cited Jutting’s case, in which the banker stuffed one of his two victims in a suitcase after brutally murdering the Indonesian women. “I can’t see any difference,” she said.
Toh said the defendant claimed to love Wiji, but he left her to die. She sentenced him to life imprisonment for the murder, and three and a half years in jail for the unlawful burial.
The court earlier heard that the body had been abandoned under the mattress cover for some time before it was discovered on Changsha Street on June 8, 2015. Prosecutor Richard Donald said: “No one took notice because it’s not uncommon for mattresses to be left on the street.” But he said a witness went to investigate, only to find a hand fall out of the cover.
When the body was found, it was already bloated and there were maggots on the face.
Further police investigation suggested the victim might have been attacked hours before her body was found as a neighbour heard her scream “very loudly as if she was in agony”.
When the defendant was arrested on June 10, he said he had an argument with his “wife”, and slapped her in the face and kicked her to the ground while they were on drugs.
An autopsy showed the victim, who died of multiple injuries, had broken ribs and cuts, as well as bruises all over her body, indicating that she might have been subject to force and a sharp weapon.
Friends of Wiji, who testified during the trial, said the defendant had a history of hurting her, including assault with an umbrella and, one time, cut her face with a knife which left her needing stitches.