HONG KONG: British banker Rurik Jutting who is accused of murdering two Indonesian woman in his upscale Hong Kong apartment filmed the attacks on his iPhone, a court heard Monday, the first day of his trial.
Jutting, 31, had earlier Monday pleaded “not guilty” to two counts of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The prosecution rejected the lesser plea and jury selection began.
As judge Michael Stuart-Moore briefed the jury pool at the High Court, he warned them of the graphic nature of the evidence.
He said that Jutting “recorded on his iPhone much of what he did to those people”, and described the footage as “very shocking indeed”.
Seneng Mujiasih and Sumarti Ningsih, both in their 20s, were found dead in Jutting’s flat in the early hours of November 1, 2014, after he called police to the scene.
Mujiasih was found naked and with knife wounds to her legs and buttocks, while the decaying body of Ningsih was found hours later in a suitcase on the balcony, according to initial police reports.
Jutting, a former securities trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, faces a three-week jury trial and life in prison if convicted on the murder charges.
The killings shocked the city of seven million — typically regarded as safe and known for its glitzy skyscrapers — and shone a spotlight on the seedy underbelly of the financial hub.
Jutting was deemed fit to stand trial following psychiatric tests and is being held at a maximum security prison.
Clean-shaven and wearing a dark-blue shirt, Jutting calmly entered his official plea for the first time Monday, saying: “Not guilty to murder by reason of diminished responsibility, but guilty to manslaughter”.
He pleaded guilty to a third charge of preventing the burial of a body.
Outside the court, a small group of protesters from Indonesian migrant worker organisations called for a “speedy and fair trial” and for compensation for the victims’ families.
It is the highest-profile murder case to hit the Hong Kong courts since American Nancy Kissel was accused of killing her banker husband in 2003.
Dubbed the “milkshake murderer”, Kissel was convicted of drugging her husband — a senior executive at Merrill Lynch — with a sedative-laced strawberry drink before clubbing him to death with a lead ornament at their luxury home.
Kissel is serving a life sentence at Hong Kong’s high-security Tai Lam Centre for Women.
She launched a fresh bid in July this year to reduce her sentence.