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Monday, October 24, 2016, 14:55

Murders: Ex-banker cites 'diminished responsibility'

By Associated Press

Murders: Ex-banker cites 'diminished responsibility'
British banker Rurik Jutting (2nd left), accused of the murders of two Indonesian women, sits in a prison van as he arrives at the eastern court in Hong Kong on May 8, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / ANTHONY WALLACE)

HONG KONG - A British banker was using cocaine when he killed two Indonesian women by slitting their throats and then used his phone to film himself talking about it , a Hong Kong prosecutor said as a trial for the 2014 killings opened Monday.

The banker, Rurik Jutting, entered a plea of not guilty to two murder charges that were read out at the High Court, with prosecutors rejecting his attempt to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Prosecutors rejected Rurik Jutting's attempt to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter of 2 Indonesian women

Jutting is charged with the murders of Sumarti Ningsih, 23 and Seneng Mujiasih, 26 whose bodies were found in his upscale apartment near the Asian financial center's Wan Chai red-light district, in a case highlighting the Asian financial hub's inequality and privileged lifestyle of its wealthy expat elite.

Jutting is a Cambridge University graduate who worked for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch in structured equity finance and trading. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

The case shocked the former British colony, which has a reputation for being safe, while also highlighting the city's extreme inequality.

The case is "particularly horrifying" because it includes photographic evidence of one victim's torture, the judge told prospective jurors as it got underway.

In opening remarks, Prosecutor John Reading told jurors that according to the facts agreed on by both sides, Sumarti went home with Jutting after he offered her "a large sum of money" on Oct 25, 2014. Sumarti, who was in Hong Kong on a tourist visa, had a five-year-old son living with her parents in Indonesia, he said.

Jutting subjected her to "increasingly cruel acts of violence using his belt, sex toys, a pair of pliers and his fists," Reading said. He said the pair had previously met when he paid to have sex with her. But on that occasion, because he had been so rough, she offered to give back half the money if she could leave early, which he agreed to.

"After torturing her for three days, he took her into the bathroom, had her kneel in front of the toilet bowl with her hands tied behind her back, made her lick the toilet bowl and then he cut her throat with a serrated-edged knife," he continued. Jutting continued to saw through her neck when she didn't immediately die, he said.

Jutting used his phone to film himself talking about the killing, how he enjoyed dominating Sumarti and how he watched pornographic videos involving extreme violence. He also said he "definitely could not have done that without cocaine." In some shots, Sumarti's body can be seen on the floor of the shower. At one point he wrapped it up and put it in a suitcase that he left on the balcony.

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