A 29-year-old British banker appeared in court in Hong Kong on Monday charged with murder after police found the bodies of two dead women in his apartment.
Rurik George Caton Jutting was accused of the murder of Sumarti Ningsih on 27 October and the murder of an “unknown female” on 1 November. Asked whether he understood the charges, Jutting – dressed in a casual black T-shirt with a “New York” logo – replied: “I do.”
Jutting appeared on the sixth-floor courtroom at Hong Kong’s Eastern magistrates court, his first public appearance since his arrest in the early hours of Saturday morning.
His lawyer Martyn Richmond requested that Jutting be transferred from police custody to jail. He said police had refused to allow Jutting – a Cambridge history graduate – to contact the British consul in Hong Kong for 36 hours after his arrest. They had also prevented him from contacting the solicitor of his choice, instead referring him to a list of duty lawyers, he said.
Richmond said Jutting had co-operated fully with police who had interviewed him “six or seven times at length”. He said that his client might be prepared to co-operate in a video reconstruction at the alleged crime scene, a common practice in Hong Kong. The magistrate, Bina Chainrai, remanded Jutting in custody until 10 November.
The police were called to Jutting’s flat in the Wan Chai district, a bustling nightlife area near the city’s financial centre on Hong Kong island, at about 3.40am on Saturday morning. A naked woman, believed to be aged between 20 and 30 was found in the living room with knife wounds to her neck and buttocks. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hours later, police found a second woman’s body in a black suitcase on the balcony of Jutting’s apartment. The corpse was wrapped in a carpet and already in a state of decay. “We believe the woman had been dead for quite some time,” Wan Siu-hung, Wan Chai assistant district commander for crime, told the South China Morning Post.
The paper on Monday named the first victim as Sumarti Ningsih, a 25-year-old Indonesian woman who entered Hong Kong from Indonesia on a tourist visa last month. Ningsih had been arrested on suspicion of breaching her conditions of stay in the territory, it reported.
According to his Facebook page and LinkedIn profile, Jutting read history at Cambridge University. He graduated in 2008 and embarked on a career in banking.
He is believed to have been working for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. A bank spokesperson has confirmed that Jutting was once an employee, without providing further details.
Jutting lived in J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, a high-rise apartment that is popular with expatriates and where the rents average about HK$30,000 (£2,400) per month. The Occupy Central camp – the scene of continuing pro-democracy protests over the past month – is a short stroll away.
This article was written by Luke Harding in Hong Kong, for theguardian.com on Monday 3rd November 2014 04.28 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010