A young British banker in Hong Kong was charged tonight with killing two women at his luxury flat. The case immediately drew comparisons on Sunday with the Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho.
The bodies were found in Rurik Jutting’s apartment in the Wan Chai district on Hong Kong island. They were reported by local media to have been sex workers employed in the nearby red light district. Mr Jutting, 29, is said to have been a Cambridge University graduate who had worked for the US financial giant Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the former British colony for more than a year. Police last night laid a holding charge of two counts of murder against Mr Jutting, who will appear in court today.
On Friday night CCTV cameras filmed Mr Jutting coming home through the wood-panelled atrium of his luxury building with the second victim, police said. Beneath the entrance hall’s 10ft-tall chandelier, the glass front doors had been decorated with ghoulish images for Halloween, which revellers were celebrating just yards away.
Shortly before 4am on Saturday morning, it is alleged that Mr Jutting called police to the flat, on the 31st floor, where they found a woman’s body and arrested him. Another body was found hours later, partly decomposed in a suitcase on the flat’s balcony. The South China Morning Post names one of the women as 25-year-old Sumarti Ningsih, from Indonesia.
Mr Jutting had posted a picture of the balcony on his Facebook page less than a fortnight ago.
Both women sustained neck injuries, police said. The newspaper reported that Ms Ningsih’s cousin, who works in Hong Kong as a domestic helper, identified her body. Ms Ningsih’s cousin also said she knew the second victim.
The newspaper quoted a police source as saying: “She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes. She was naked and wrapped in a towel before being stuffed into the suitcase. Her passport was found at the scene.” Wan Siu-hung, Wan Chai assistant district commander for crime, said: “We believe the woman had been dead for quite some time.”
In Britain, Mr Jutting attended the independent Winchester College in Hampshire before studying history and law at Cambridge University. An online professional profile lists him as having worked at Barclays bank in London, before joining his most recent employer in July 2013 to work in structured equity finance.
He lives in the exclusive J Residence apartment building, where a one-bedroom penthouse flat is currently advertised online for HK$26 million – just over £2 million. Neighbouring the city’s financial hub, the lively Wan Chai district is popular with wealthy foreign workers.
The flat is also a two-minute walk from the neon heart of Hong Kong’s sex industry. Last night, as every other night, the streets and pubs still thronged with Western men as strippers and prostitutes from around South-East Asia offered their business.
It also close to the pro-democracy protests which had dominated the local headlines. The killings will also deal a blow to Hong Kong’s proud reputation as one of the world’s safest major cities.
A local bar manager, Robert van den Bosch, had known both women for more than four years. He said about two dozen police had visited bars and nightclubs in the area on Saturday in an effort to identify the women. Mr Van den Bosch told the BBC: “That’s the thing that we ask ourselves, why, and why her? If she was just a crazy woman and fighting you could understand, but I have no idea why, because she was always happy.”
The Foreign Office confirmed the arrest of a British national in Hong Kong and said: “We stand ready to provide consular assistance.”