HONG KONG – Rurik Jutting, the British investment banker on trial for murdering two Indonesian women in Hong Kong, was a narcissistic sadist trying to mask the “fragile” shell of his personality having suffered sexual abuse at a boarding school, a court heard Monday.
Opening Jutting’s defense as the trial entered its second week, lawyer Tim Owen called on Dr. Richard Latham, a British consulting forensic psychiatrist who has worked on between 50 and 75 similar cases.
Latham told the Hong Kong court that Jutting suffered from recognized disorders from cocaine and alcohol abuse on top of his other personality disorders of sexual sadism and narcissism.
He stated that at the time of the killings Jutting’s ability to control his behavior was “substantially impaired.”
“There is this very fragile sense of self-esteem underneath it all,” Latham told the court, adding Jutting’s narcissistic tendencies of being boastful was a means to cover up.
Owen said Jutting had been a victim of sexual assault during his teenager years at Winchester College, one of Britain’s oldest and most prestigious schools, when he was forced to perform oral sex on another boy.
The defense also detailed Jutting’s father’s attempt to commit suicide by cutting his wrists when Jutting was 16.
Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate who previously worked at Bank of America Corp. in Hong Kong, stands accused of murdering Sumarti Ningsih, 23, and Seneng Mujiasih 26, two years ago.
During the first week of the trial, the court saw video footage Jutting took of himself torturing Ningsih and telling how he had killed both women, whose mutilated bodies were found in his luxury high-rise Hong Kong apartment.
Jutting has pleaded not guilty to murder on grounds of “diminished responsibility,” but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
The courtroom has been packed since the trial began, with journalists from Britain flocking to Hong Kong to cover the sensational case.
The video footage found on Jutting’s iPhone included rambling monologues where he discussed the murders, binged on cocaine and explained his violent sexual fantasies, giving psychiatrists rare insight.
“The thing I never had before in a case is the video recordings he made himself because they give you a direct view of what he was like around the time of these two killings,” Latham told the court.
Latham said that in 2011 Jutting developed a strong preference for sexual violence, torture, rape and slavery.
He moved from using pornography to “acting out these things with people in a consensual way and then he gradually testing out things that were not really consensual.”
In 2013 Jutting started booking more submissive escorts and would opt not to use condoms, he said.
Jutting’s alcohol abuse disorder was evident starting from 2011 and from 2012 things seemed to get more severe, Latham said. At the time of the killing “it was at the most severe end of the spectrum,” he said.
During videotaped interviews with police, shown to the court last week, Jutting said he was consuming 10 packs of cocaine a day — each costing 1,000 Hong Kong dollars and that he ingested up to 20 grams of cocaine just after the second killing.
Latham gave an example of Jutting’s narcissistic personality disorder when Jutting told him that he didn’t achieve a first class degree in law at Cambridge because the examiners didn’t understand him well enough.
Prosecutor John Reading said Jutting had a high perception of his status in prison, with him giving directions to prison officers. Latham said Jutting believed he was not an ordinary prisoner.
Dressed in a pale blue shirt, Jutting was clean shaven with short cut hair, looked attentive during Monday’s session.
He is considerably slimmer than two years ago when he appeared in court looking heavily overweight and wearing a thick dark beard.
The defense and prosecution were largely in agreement over the physical evidence, but whether the jury accepts the defense case that it was manslaughter rather than murder could hinge on psychiatric and psychological testimony about Jutting’s state of mind.
Murder carries a mandatory life sentence, while manslaughter carries a maximum of life though a shorter sentence can be set.
Jutting had expressed “job depression” in his series of filmed monologues that he termed the “narcissistic ramblings of Rurik Jutting.”
Leading up to the killings Latham said Jutting suffered a breakdown. He described Jutting’s depression and excessive and increasing use of drugs and alcohol as a response to things not going his way.
“The controversy may be because superficially he looks like he was functioning quite well. If you look below the surface … he wasn’t functioning well and he wasn’t happy with his life.”
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