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Monday, October 31, 2016, 12:30

British banker's defence cites sexual disorder

By Jon Lowe

British banker's defence cites sexual disorder
A policeman stands guard as a prison van transporting British banker Rurik Jutting, accused of the murders of two Indonesian women, arrives at the High Court in Hong Kong on Oct 31, 2016, before the defence starts in the city's biggest murder case for years. (Anthony WALLACE / AFP)

HONG KONG - The trial of Rurik Jutting continued on Monday when the High Court heard testimony from a psychiatrist about the various mental disorders he believed the accused suffered from during and before the killing of two Indonesian women in October 2014.

Dr Richard Latham, a consultant psychiatrist from the UK who works mainly for the National Health Service, said Jutting suffered from a combination of sexual sadism disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and severe alcohol and cocaine use disorder .

British investment banker Rurik Jutting was a narcissistic sexual sadist, testified a British psychiatrist

The expert witness, who has appeared as an independent forensic psychiatrist in over 60 trials, said that although the disorders could not be characterized as mental illness, “at the moment of killing the disorders combined to substantially impair his ability to control his behavior”.

Latham, who met with Jutting at Lai Chi Kok Detention Centre in March this year for over five hours, said that the case was unique in his experience because of the hours of iPhone recordings the accused made around the time of the killings, which “offered a window into his state of mind at the time”. He added that the policed interviews with Jutting were also unusually detailed.

Describing Jutting as highly intelligent, Latham said that use of cocaine, followed by alcohol, were likely to have been the most important factors in his delusional state.

Latham said Jutting had begun drinking heavily in 2010, often drinking till he passed out. He tried cocaine in 2012, the court further heard from Latham, and used it intermittently until his consumption of the drug began to dramatically escalate weeks before the killings, which came at “the most severe end” of the drug and alcohol binge.

Latham said during this period, Jutting became more interested in sexual violence. Jutting had told him he went from using extreme pornography to “acting out” consensually with prostitutes, before testing “non-consensual acts”, culminating in the “horrific acts”.

Latham said that narcissistic personality disorder was displayed in the accused by long periods of high regard for himself, followed by crises of confidence. When things went wrong for Jutting, the psychiatrist said, he became more stressed than most people.

“You don’t see it often, but it’s there, showing he’s very fragile underneath,” he said.

Latham stopped short of saying the accused was in a state of diminished responsibility at the time of the killings, saying that was a matter for the jury. But he said that “all the diagnoses interact”, and though he showed rational behavior and made preparations for violence including purchasing rope and weapons, “he was not able to control his behavior at the time of the killing”.

Latham further said that Jutting had displayed depression-like symptoms throughout his life due to the underlying problems caused by his personality disorder. The former Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee had contemplated jumping from his balcony in the months prior to the killings, Latham said.

“Suicidal thoughts represent a dramatic response to things not going well,” Latham said, adding that this was consistent with his narcissistic personality disorder. “When their normal high self-esteem is undermined they have severe reactions.”

Latham said the disorder interacted with the cocaine and alcohol to produce a state where he felt little empathy and craved only a release for his sexual sadism disorder, rendering his actions more or less involuntary.

The case continues.

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