November 8, 2016 / 3:13 AM / 2 years ago

HK jury retires to consider verdict in British banker's double murder trial

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong jury on Tuesday retired to consider its verdict in British banker Rurik Jutting’s double murder trial, a gruesome case involving graphic video of the torture and killing two Indonesian women in his luxury high-rise apartment in 2014.

File photo of Rurik George Caton Jutting, a British banker charged with two counts of murder after police found the bodies of two women in his apartment, sitting in the back row of a prison bus as he arrives at the Eastern Law Courts in Hong Kong November 24, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

Jutting, 31, has pleaded not guilty to murder arguing diminished responsibility due to drug and alcohol abuse and sexual disorders, but guilty to manslaughter.

Murder carries a mandatory life sentence, while the lesser charge of manslaughter carries a maximum of life though a shorter sentence can be set.

Jutting, a former vice president and head of Structured Equity Finance and Trading (Asia) at Bank of America, is charged with murdering Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26.

The jury has viewed video taken by Jutting on his iPhone of him torturing Ningsih before he cut her throat. Her mutilated body was found in a suitcase on the balcony and Mujiasih’s was found inside the apartment with wounds to her neck and buttocks.

The defense has argued that Jutting suffers from cocaine and alcohol abuse and personality disorders of sexual sadism and narcissism which impaired his ability to control his behavior.

The prosecution has rejected this, stating Jutting was able to form judgments and exercise self control before and after the killings, filming Ningsih’s torture and shooting hours of footage where he discussed the killings, bingeing on cocaine and his graphic sexual fantasies.

Deputy High Court Judge Michael Stuart-Moore has directed the jury to approach the verdict “intellectually” rather than be “colored by passion or disgust”.

With the defense and prosecution agreeing on the physical evidence, the jury must decide the case on psychiatric and psychological evidence to determine whether the killings were intentional murder or manslaughter.

The trial has attracted global attention due the Cambridge graduate’s profile and the explicit nature of the killings, in a city where serious crime is minimal.

Reporting by Farah Master, Editing by Michael Perry

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