He Killed 2 Women and Put 1 in a Bag

In 2014, Rurik Jutting killed two Indonesian women in a crime that still haunts the Special Administrative Region.
Tuesday 24 July 2018
Rurik Jutting smiles disturbingly at the camera. Photo: Getty Images

On the morning of 1 November 2014, British banker Rurik Jutting made repeated calls to the police.

Something had happened in his luxury apartment in the busy district of Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Jutting, 32, didn’t say much in his 999 calls. When the police arrived, they were unprepared for what they were about to discover.

They found a 12-inch knife, sex toys, cocaine and 26-year-old Seneng Muji-asih, barely alive.

Lying naked on the sitting room floor, her throat was slit and she had knife wounds to her buttocks. Eight hours later, the police found a badly decomposed body stuffed inside a large black suitcase in Jutting’s apartment. This was the mutilated body of Sumarti Ningsih. Just 23 years old, her head was partially severed and her hands and legs bound.

Rurik Jutting was, in many ways, the typical over-paid over-indulgent expat over here in Asia, who had received all the requisite advantages of an English upper middle-class upbringing.

Reportedly earning almost US$500,000 per year at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, he had plenty of extra cash to fuel his cocaine and alcohol addiction.

Renowned for its extremely high academic entrance requirement and intense academic development, Jutting had attended Winchester College. Considered the finest independent boarding school in the UK, 35% of its sixth-form students secure places at Oxbridge and Jutting later graduated in History and Law from Cambridge.

Amongst public school kids, Wykehamists (so named af-ter the founder of the school, William of Wykeham in 1382) are generally regarded as an odd bunch, but even Jutting is beyond the pale.

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A migrant worker holds up a piece of paper showing photos of Sumarti Ningsih (left) and Seneng Mujiasih (right). Photo: Getty Images

For many economically-disadvantaged workers, Hong Kong is the Promised Land.

You can earn a decent income doing unskilled jobs compared to wages at home, but these vulnerable women were supplementing their income with sex work.

Seneng, known as Jessie Lorena, was born in Southeast Sulawesi in Indonesia. Her visa in Hong Kong had expired and she was doing odd jobs that reportedly included being a DJ in a club.

Seneng had agreed to have sex with Jutting for US$260. He took Seneng home, intending to torture her with an assortment of sex toys and a pair of pliers, according to the prosecution.

Seneng tried to escape but it was too late, Jutting grabbed a knife and cut her throat.

Her ordeal mercifully ended when she died not long after the police found her broken body.

Sumarti left Indonesia in search of a better life as a domestic helper. Life was rough before moving to Hong Kong. Married at 17 and pregnant, her husband left before her son was born.

Sumarti endured torture for three days – Jutting made her lick the toilet bowl, forced her to beg for her life when Jutting cut her throat with a serrated knife for her efforts.

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The murder weapon found at Jutting’s apartment in Wan Chai. Photo: Getty Images

The macabre nature of the murders gripped headlines in Hong Kong, an Asian financial hub where violent crime is rare. The crime reverberated all the way back to the UK, as middle-class England feverishly tried to fathom how one of their own could throw away all his advantages and come to an ignominious end.

At his trial, the jury looked at thousands of pictures and viewed videos made by Jutting himself of the grotesque scenes of rape and torture.

Cocaine-addled Jutting had recorded the torture on his phone as he acted out his depraved sexual fantasies. From watching violent porn, he escalated to acting out his sadistic fantasies on prostitutes.

“I realised how much I enjoyed that combination of alcohol and cocaine and physical torture – it gave me a sense of enjoyment I’d never had with anything. I knew I would do it again,” Jutting said after his arrest.

Jutting pleaded not guilty to murdering Sumarti and Seneng on grounds of diminished responsibility due to drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual disorders. Instead, he pleaded guilty to the lesser crime of manslaughter.

In his defence,a forensic psychiatrist reported that the accused was himself a victim of sexual abuse, alleging that he had been forced to perform oral sex on a boy while at Winchester. This had resulted in psychological disorders.

The plea was rejected.

In November 2016, a nine-member jury unanimously found Jutting guilty of the gruesome murders.

The former high-flyer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch is currently serving a life sentence at a maximum-security prison in Hong Kong. His appeal against conviction was rejected by a Hong Kong court on 9 February 2018. The Court of Appeal judges said in their decision that Jutting’s appeal had no merit.

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Sumarti Ningsih’s family in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia requested that Sumarti’s killer be put to death. Photo: Getty Images

While the families of the victims were dealt a double blow upon discovery of their daughters’ double lives and left to mourn their deaths, Rutting’s family has also suffered to some degree. Many British parents make huge financial sacrifices to send their children to Public School, and the fact that he went up to Cambridge only justified these sacrifices.

The marriage of Graham and Helen Jutting was dissolved just before the trial began and they did not attend their son’s trial, probably from the strain of having a sexual sadist for a son on trial for double murders having taken its toll.

Did the sexual abuse he suffered trigger psychological disorders or did his predilection for violent porn fuelled by drugs and alcohol lead to his sadism?

Amongst the long and distinguished roll call of Old Wykehamists with the scores of politicians, scholars, actors, sportsmen among them, Rurik Jutting appears as “Banker and Murderer”.

Additional reporting by Zoe Phoon.

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