Some homicide cases remind us that there is a thin line between a high functioning member of society with narcissistic tendencies, and a narcissistic psychopath. In the case of Rurik Jutting, that line was made of cocaine.
On November 1st, 2014, an extremely agitated and incoherent Jutting phoned the police from his Wan Chai apartment, explaining that “something bad has happened”. When the police arrived they found Jutting on his balcony, brandishing a knife and screaming at passersby.
The body of Seneng Mujiasih, near death, was found in Jutting’s living room and upon closer inspection, police found the decaying corpse of Sumarti Ningsih stuffed into a suitcase.
Rurik Jutting, 31, was born in Surrey, UK, to a middle class family. His father was an engineer and his mother ran a nursery school. Jutting attended the now closed Wallop prep school before moving to the Abberley Hall boarding school in Worcestershire. The young student then attended Winchester College, and went on to win a place at the prestigious Peterhouse College in Cambridge.
Jutting’s school mates described him as extremely arrogant and superior, but not especially assertive. Other pupils at the school teased him for being homosexual because he had a close relationship with another male pupil and chose to participate in sports that required him to wear ‘tight lycra’.
After gaining a degree in History and Law, Jutting began working for Barclays and eventually landed a job at Merrill Lynch working in tax compliance. He moved to the Hong Kong office in 2013, earning himself around £350,000 a year. While living abroad, Jutting began holding drug fuelled sex parties, lasting for days at a time, during which he discovered his obsession with having sex with two or three women at once.
Sumarti, or Alice as she was known to her friends, was born in Indonesia in 1991. She was married and had a young son around five years old. She was in Hong Kong with a tourist visa, and had told her family that she was planning to return home on the 2nd of November, just a day after her body was discovered.
Jutting offered Sumarti a large sum of money to have sex with him and took her back to his apartment near the red light district of Wan Chai.
While at his apartment, Jutting told police that “progressively I went from hitting her quite lightly to hitting her quite hard to abusing her very badly. I think she felt the threat of death. It escalated. It got out of hand”.
After Jutting’s arrest, it was revealed that Sumarti had been subjected to increasingly depraved acts of violence over the course of three days, during which Jutting took videos of himself torturing her.
Once he had grown tired of the violence, Jutting said he “was thinking of a way to let her go [so] that it would not be traceable to me. Clearly if I let her go I would be caught, or I would have to kill her. These are the two options I saw.”
Jutting slit her throat, almost decapitating her, and stuffed her body into a suitcase.
Seneng was 30 years old, and known as Jesse Lorena. She was also from Indonesia, and came to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper in 2006.
Seneng was also offered a large sum of money for sex by Jutting, and was attacked by him once inside his apartment. According to his police statements, Jutting stated that Seneng was “very brave, she was struggling, she was resisting, she was shouting”. The autopsy report showed that Seneng had numerous defensive wounds on her hands from attempting to wrench the knife away from her attacker.
These two young women were beautiful and free-spirited, and were both looking for something more than life currently had to offer. When asked why he chose these two innocent women, Jutting said “I don’t know why I chose [them]. I’ve never met [them] before”. He went on to say that “at that point in time, [the girls] were simply prey. I was hunting for prey”.
At the trial, which began earlier this month, the jury was asked to listen to a recording of Jutting admitting to the murder of both women, in which he stated that he “definitely couldn’t have [committed the murders] without cocaine”.
The jury also witnessed video footage and images of Jutting torturing the women, including a photo of him holding one of the victim’s heads.
During another police interview, Jutting said that he had increased his cocaine consumption in the six weeks leading up to the first murder.
The prosecution has just rested in this case, and Jutting’s trial continues. Both the prosecution and defence agree on the facts of the case, so the verdict will be largely influenced by psychiatric and psychological evidence. One toxicology expert stated that Jutting had enough drugs and alcohol in his system to put a normal person in a coma.
So, the question I’m interested in is: does drug induced violence equate to a diminished responsibility? Jutting has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on those same grounds, explaining that he was suffering from a drug induced personality disorder at the time of the murders. However, he was found mentally able to plead and stand trial.
It will be extremely interesting to see the outcome of this trial, and if Jutting is found innocent, what the response from the authorities will be.
Do you think Jutting should be found guilty of murder? I’d love to hear your opinion.