LONDON—He was a high-flying trader with an expensive education and a luxury lifestyle, but Rurik Jutting walked out of his job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch leaving only a chilling automatic email response:
I am out of the office. Indefinitely.For urgent enquiries, or indeed any enquiries, please contact someone who is not an insane psychopath.
On Monday morning, Jutting, 29, appeared in Hong Kong’s Eastern Court accused of murdering two women. Their mutilated bodies were found in his $5,000-a-month apartment. Wearing a black T-shirt and drumming his fingers on his chest, he spoke only to confirm that he understood the charges against him.
The British banker, who attended the prestigious Winchester College boarding school and Cambridge University, updated his Facebook page on Halloween with the slogan “Money DOES buy happiness.” A few hours later, police arrived at his home on the 31st floor of his building to find a woman lying in his apartment with knife wounds to her neck and buttocks. She may still have been alive, but died soon afterwards.
Once forensic officers had scoured the inside of the apartment, they discovered a suitcase on the balcony, which overlooked the city’s tangle of high-rises. Inside the bag, a second body was naked, wrapped in a towel, and almost decapitated.
Police identified the second victim as Sumarti Ningsih, 25, an Indonesian citizen; the other was said to be about 30 years old. Local media reported that they were both prostitutes who had worked in Wan Chai, Hong Kong’s red-light district, just a few blocks from Jutting’s place.
The killing spree, which is reminiscent of Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, is believed to have begun before Jutting updated his Facebook profile last Monday to say: “Stepping down from the ledge. Burden lifted; new journey begins. Scared and anxious but also excited.”
Police said the woman in the suitcase had died on the previous day. The South China Morning Post reported that officers found a knife, sex toys, and a small quantity of cocaine in the apartment, which they raided after a call from Jutting in the early hours of Saturday morning.
His out-of-office message appeared to suggest that Jutting had planned to commit suicide, but he apparently changed his mind. He had written: “For escalation please contact God, though suspect the devil will have custody (Last line only really worked if I had followed through).”
In Cobham, a village just outside London that is famous for its population of professional footballers and wealthy City workers, Jutting’s family pleaded for privacy when reached by the media.
As a boy, Jutting’s school motto at Winchester had been “Manners maketh the man.” From there he was accepted to Cambridge to read history and law at Peterhouse, the university’s oldest college, where he was a cross-country runner and rower. He was elected president of the Cambridge University history society.
Jutting’s banking career began at Barclays before he joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in July 2010. After three years in London, he moved to the Structured Equity Finance & Trading branch in Hong Kong.
One banker who has worked extensively in Hong Kong said foreign workers often succumbed to a culture of drug abuse and sexual misadventure. “Expat bankers are definitely into the drugs/hooker scene, and Wan Chai is the very epicenter,” he told The Daily Beast. “Culturally, buying sex is completely normal. Many of the locals have mistresses or use hookers. It’s completely common practice and not frowned upon at all. It is in fact discussed relatively openly among the alpha males at investment banks.”
One colleague at the bank described Jutting to The Telegraph as someone who “talked very loud and made—‘loads of money.’”
Jutting, having entered no plea, will remain in prison until his next hearing on Nov. 10.