Wanchai Murder: British banker pleads not guilty to killing migrant domestic workers

Rurik Jutting was accused of killing two Indonesian women, Sumarti Ningsih (23) and Seneng Mujiasih (29) in Hong Kong

Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

A former Bank of America employee charged with the murder of two women in Hong Kong pleaded not guilty on grounds of "diminished responsibility" nearly two years after the event.

The accused, identified as Rurik Jutting, was held responsible for killing two Indonesian women, Sumarti Ningsih (23) and Seneng Mujiasih (29), whose bodies were found in his luxury Hong Kong apartment in the Wan Chai district on 1 November 2014.

Police found the bodies, one cramped inside a suitcase in the balcony and the other lying inside the apartment with injury marks to her neck and buttocks along with a 12-inch knife, sex toys and cocaine.

After investigation it was found that the victims had originally come to Hong Kong as foreign maids but one woman stayed back even after her domestic worker visa lapsed and the other had returned on a tourist visa. However, the argument that these two women were sex workers was highly debated.

'Diminished responsibility'

It was reported that Jutting, a former student of Cambridge University and Winchester College, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of "diminished responsibility" and a third charge of preventing lawful burial of a body at his trial that started in Hong Kong on Monday.

According to Reuters, during the hearing, Jutting's lawyer Tim Owen explained the argument for diminished responsibility which was based on the grounds of a personality disorder to which Deputy High Court Judge said "there isn't a disease here, it is a personality disorder."

Moreover, prosecutor John Reading's argument was on the lines that psychopathic behaviour was not a reason for diminished responsibility.

During the initial trial of Jutting, Bank of America the accused was an employee of the company but did not provide any details about why he left or give any timeframe.

The British banker was found fit to plea after undergoing several psychiatric assessments at the end of 2014.

The case highlighted the city's extreme inequality that is very much prevalent and it is reported that 300,000-strong migrant domestic helpers community in Hong Kong is closely watching the case. Several of their representatives were spotted outside the High Court holding placards reading "Justice for Wanchai Murder Victim" and "Stop Violence".