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Hong Kong murder trial: British man warned bank of reputation risk, says defence

World Tuesday 01/November/2016 17:03 PM
By: Times News Service
Hong Kong murder trial: British man warned bank of reputation risk, says defence

Hong Kong: British investment banker Rurik Jutting called his boss at the Bank of America in Hong Kong and warned him that its reputation was at risk after he had killed a second woman, a Hong Kong court heard on Tuesday.
Tim Owen, a lawyer defending Jutting against charges of murdering two Indonesian women in his Hong Kong apartment, detailed the stress that Jutting felt during his working life that culminated in a drug-fuelled torture and killing spree two years ago.
Jutting, 31, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih, 26, on grounds of "diminished responsibility", but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The women's bodies were found in Jutting's luxury high-rise apartment.
Ningsih's mutilated body was found in a suitcase on the balcony. Mujiasih was found in the apartment with wounds to her neck and back, the prosecutor told the court.
Jutting captured hours of footage on his iPhone of him torturing Ningsih. He also filmed rambling monologues in which he discussed the murders, binged on drug and explained his violent fantasies. Segments of the footage were earlier shown to the court.
Owen said that after killing Mujiasih, Jutting had called his boss and said: "I am in a lot of trouble, you need to do something about the reputation of the bank."
Owen explained how Jutting earned quick promotions after joining Bank of America in London in 2010 from Barclays. He found himself under more pressure once he moved to Hong Kong in September, 2013.
In 2014 his boss in Hong Kong told him that his professional activities were being monitored, which he described as unjustified. It was then that he started consuming large amounts of drink before sleeping, Owen said.
He said Jutting was "humiliated" when his boss sent a junior to find him when he did not go to work.
Bank of America declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.
During his time in Britain with the bank, Jutting had been involved in risky tax products, was regarded as unpredictable, and was also monitored for high travel costs, said Owen.
One tax product in Luxembourg was flagged by internal auditors as a serious risk to the organisation and Jutting was moved to another part of the bank before moving to Hong Kong, Owen told the court.
Jutting's boss in London had told him he was one of the most unpredictable people he had worked with, said Owen.
Earlier, prosecutor John Reading said Jutting was calm and aware of his actions when he killed the women, rejecting his defence's argument that he had lost control due to drugs and disorders.
Reading cross examined defence witness Richard Latham, a British psychiatrist, stating "even when he was at his most aggressive, even when he was torturing her (Ningsih), his conduct to her was very controlled".
Latham told the court on Monday that Jutting has recognised disorders from drugs and drinking abuse on top of his other personality disorders which impaired his ability to control his behaviour.
Latham on Tuesday acknowledged that Jutting was in control in parts leading up to the killings, but emphasised the killings were not something Jutting intended.
"There is little doubt in my mind that he knew what he was doing. He clearly remembered it... but knowing what he was doing is different to controlling his behaviour," he said.
The defence has said Jutting suffered abuse as a teenager during his time at Winchester College, one of Britain's oldest and most prestigious schools.
The defence also detailed Jutting's father's attempted suicide by slashing his wrists when he was 16.
Owen said Jutting was constantly seeking new experiences to excite him.
His personality disorder, which made him boastful and arrogant, was his attempt to cover a "fragile" shell, Latham testified on Monday.
Jutting's drinking abuse disorders started from 2011 as well as a strong preference for physcial violence, torture, rape and slavery, Latham said on Monday.
Derek Perkins, a professor of Forensic Psychology at West London Mental Health NHS Trust and Royal Holloway University, testified that Jutting had a personality disorder.
Perkins said in the 15 hours he spent with Jutting, he took control of the conversation from time to time and spoke in a very matter of fact way.
The defence and prosecution were largely in agreement over the physical evidence, but the dispute may lie in psychiatric and psychological evidence provided by the defence to determine whether it was a case of murder or manslaughter.
Murder carries a mandatory life sentence, while manslaughter carries a maximum of life though a shorter sentence can be set.