British double murderer loses Hong Kong appeal bid

2018-02-09 22:13
British banker Rurik Jutting. (Philippe Lopez, AFP)

British banker Rurik Jutting. (Philippe Lopez, AFP)

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Hong Kong - A British banker jailed for life for the horrifying murder of two Indonesian women at his upscale Hong Kong apartment in a cocaine-fuelled rampage has had his appeal rejected, a court ruled on Friday.

Cambridge University graduate Rurik Jutting tortured Sumarti Ningsih for three days - filming parts of her ordeal on his phone - before slashing her throat with a serrated knife and stuffing her body into a suitcase.

Days later, with Ningsih's corpse still on his balcony, the former Bank of America Merrill Lynch worker picked up Seneng Mujiasih, intending to play out the same fantasies. But he killed her quickly when she started screaming.

Jutting, now 32, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was found guilty of murder, with the judge at the time describing the killings as "sickening in the extreme".

Jutting's defence team had argued that judge Michael Stuart-Moore repeatedly gave incorrect directions to the jury during the trial in 2017 when explaining how they should determine whether Jutting's state of mind had impaired his responsibility for his actions.

Unanimous ruling

Defence lawyer Gerard McCoy said the judge had "wrongly and prescriptively directed the jury" to focus on whether Jutting had mental disorders, arguing that "abnormality of mind need not be a disorder".

A judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal on Friday rejected the appeal bid, saying there is "no merit in this ground of appeal".

A panel of three judges unanimously ruled that they were "satisfied" with the judge's directions to the jury.

The jury in the original trial did not find that Jutting suffered from a mental disorder such as sexual sadism disorder or narcissistic personality disorder, according to the judgement.

"The applicant had traits only of sexual sadism and narcissistic personality, rather than disorders," it said, meaning that there were no grounds for a ruling of "diminished responsibility" for the crimes.

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