HONG KONG: A British banker accused of murdering two Indonesian women who were found mutilated in his upscale Hong Kong apartment will face trial next year for the killings.
Rurik Jutting (pix), a 30-year-old former Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee, has been charged with two counts of murder and is yet to enter a formal plea.
In a brief hearing at Hong Kong’s High Court on Wednesday the trial date was set for Oct 25, 2016 – two years after the killings.
Jutting, who did not appear in court, will face a jury trial which is set to take 20 days.
At a magistrates’ hearing in May, Jutting indicated he may plead not guilty to the murder charges.
He did not officially lodge a plea at that hearing, but when magistrate Jason Wan asked: “I take it as not guilty?”, the one-time securities trader replied: “Correct”.
Jutting would face life in prison if convicted of the murder charges.
Seneng Mujiasih and Sumarti Ningsih, both in their 20s, were found dead in Jutting’s flat in the early hours of Nov 1 after he called police to the scene.
Mujiasih was found in the living room, 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.
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.
Police have said cocaine and sex toys were found in Jutting’s apartment, just a few streets away from Hong Kong’s red-light district, where he was reportedly a regular.
The high-flying Cambridge graduate was being held at Hong Kong’s Siu Lam psychiatric prison – a walled hilltop compound on the outskirts of Hong Kong.
He has now been transferred to another maximum security prison at Lai Chi Kok, the court heard Wednesday, with no reason given.
Jutting was deemed fit to stand trial in November following psychiatric tests.
When asked about the length of time before the trial date, Jutting’s lawyer Michael Vidler said it was a “court scheduling matter”.
A pre-trial hearing is set for Aug 24 next year.–AFP