HONG KONG — When Hong Kong police were called to the upmarket apartment of 29-year-old British banker Rurik Jutting here over the weekend, they found the naked bodies of two young Asian women – one with her throat slashed lying on the floor in a pool of blood, the other, who had been dead for about five days, decomposing in a suitcase on the balcony.
Jutting, a high-flying Cambridge University graduate who recently left his job as a securities trader at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, was charged Monday with the double murder. It is a case already drawing comparisons to the Bret Easton Ellis novel "American Psycho," about an investment banker who leads a double life as a serial killer.
The killings, in Hong Kong’s nightlife and red light district of Wanchai, have thrown an uncomfortable spotlight on the seedier side of a city known for its low crime rate.
Jutting's Facebook page offers a tiny window into the character of the man accused of the crimes, and one that was immediately combed for clues.
Police said Jutting had called them to his apartment in the Wanchai district at 3:42 a.m. Saturday morning. They found one woman with her throat slashed, and a cut to one buttock, lying in a “messy” apartment in “copious” amounts of blood. A knife was also found at the scene.
Another woman had apparently been killed Oct. 27, according to the charging document, sustaining unspecified “neck injuries” before being placed in a suitcase, reportedly wrapped in a blanket. At least one of the dead women was Indonesian.
Four days after the first woman died, and hours before the second killing, Jutting had apparently posted two upbeat articles on his Facebook page.
The first, a comment piece on Britain’s Guardian Web site, asked, “Is 29 the perfect age?” going on to say, “I am a better friend and I know my limitations. No wonder 29-year-olds are the most popular age group.”
The second, set as Jutting’s cover photo at 9:43 p.m. Friday, argued that “Money DOES buy happiness” — that growing wealth was making Asian nations happier, but that women were more content than men.
Two weeks before, Jutting had posted a photograph of his 31st floor balcony and the view of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers it offers. One post showed a photograph from the pro-democracy protests that have been taking place only a short walk from his apartment, while another, posted July 5, showed him photographed with an Asian woman, apparently his girlfriend and identified as Yanie.
Jutting was impassive Monday at a preliminary court hearing, at which he spoke only briefly to say he understood the charges against him.
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that Jutting’s Facebook page contained an even more puzzling entry the week before, although it was not publicly available Monday.
"Stepping down from the ledge. Burden lifted; new journey begins. Scared and anxious but also excited. The first step is always the hardest," Jutting wrote, in a possible reference to leaving Bank of America.
Jutting was educated at Winchester, an elite British private school, before going to Cambridge to study law and history. A rower and a cross-country runner, he was also president of the Cambridge University History Society, Reuters reported.
Classmates at school and university variously described him as “tough,” “extremely academically talented … and very, very ambitious,” and as “clever but socially awkward,” according to AFP.
The police are also looking into Jutting's Bank of America Merrill Lynch out-of-office e-mail messages. According to Bloomberg:
An automated e-mail reply from the Bank of America Corp. (BAC) account of Rurik Jutting yesterday said he was out of the office “indefinitely” and recommended contacting someone who’s not “an insane psychopath.”
... The automated reply also said: “For escalation please contact God, though suspect the devil will have custody. [Last line only really worked if I had followed through.]”
Bloomberg News also said they were unable to verify whether the note was written by him.
The double murder came 11 years, almost to the day, since the “Milkshake Murder” case in Hong Kong on Nov. 2, 2003, also involving Merrill Lynch. American expatriate housewife Nancy Kissel was convicted of bludgeoning her husband to death after giving him a strawberry milkshake laced with a sedative. Her husband, Robert Kissel, worked at the firm, which was later bought by Bank of America.