British banker Rurik Jutting was so consumed by his personality disorders and addictions that he was not in control of his actions when he killed two women in his Hong Kong apartment, a psychiatrist said at his trial yesterday.
Jutting, 31, has pleaded not guilty to two murder charges, instead pleading guilty to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility — which was rejected by the prosecution.
Cambridge graduate Jutting is accused of murdering Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, two years ago, allegdly slashing their throats after saying he would pay them for sex.
He allegedly tortured Ningsih inside his apartment for three days before killing her and stuffing her body in a suitcase found on his balcony.
The prosecution grilled defense witness Richard Latham, a forensic psychiatrist from London, as they sought to argue Jutting was in control of his decisions at that time.
Jutting had said he had killed Ningsih, his first victim, because she might report him, which was a logical reason, prosecution counsel John Reading said.
“I suggest to you that he was in control of himself,” Reading said.
Latham said Jutting’s decisions to kill were impaired by his use of cocaine and alcohol, combined with sexual sadism and narcissistic personality disorders.
“I think it’s wrong to say that he had a completely ordinary level of control,” Latham told the court.
Reading said that Jutting’s shopping trips to buy rope, a hammer and other implements with which he meant to torture Mujiasih, his second victim, showed “significant planning.”
However, Latham said Jutting’s behavior was likely driven by the desire to be in control and cause harm for sexual pleasure.
“In relation to killing [Mujiasih], that likely wasn’t his intention,” he said.
Jutting was so severely dependent on drugs and alcohol it would have been almost impossible for him to resist his craving to take them — his consumption was “close to automatic and involuntary,” Latham said.
The court heard how Jutting’s life had spiraled in the years leading up to the killings.
Defense counsel Tim Owen said Jutting had felt sidelined after being transferred to Hong Kong from London in 2013.
He had been flagged as a serious risk to his employer, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, over a possible violation of regulations linked to marketing of a tax product.
Jutting’s work was being monitored and on one occasion he was unable to turn up to the London office in 2014 during a trip back home, after taking too much cocaine, Owen said, adding that as an excuse, he told his employers he had HIV.
He had been seeking out sex workers, including men, Owen said.
After killing Mujiasih, Jutting had called his boss and said: “I’m in a lot of trouble, you have to do something about the bank’s reputation,” Owen said.
Defense witness Derek Perkins, a British psychologist, told the court that Jutting’s life was “out of control, it was chaotic.”
Perkins said the underlying issue was his personality disorder, which made him unable to cope with the problems he created.
His sexual sadism quickly escalated in the two to three years before the killings, Perkins said, adding that the coming together of his disorders led him to engage in “horrific behavior.”
Perkins said Jutting had been shocked at what he had done to Ningsih and that killing her had not been part of his original plan, which was to act out fantasies inspired by violent pornography.
“Killing wasn’t part of the culmination of that fantasy,” Perkins said.
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