Rurik Jutting, the British expatriate banker turned double murderer, is appealing his conviction, his lawyer told CNN.
Jutting was found guilty last year by a Hong Kong court of torturing and killing two Indonesian women, Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih, at his home in the city’s Wan Chai district in 2014.
The jury returned a unanimous verdict on both counts of murder and the 31-year-old Jutting was sentenced to two concurrent mandatory life sentences.
At the time, Judge Michael Stuart-Moore said Jutting — who claimed diminished responsibility on the grounds of psychological problems — plumbed “the very depths of depravity” in the treatment of his victims.
Jutting told the court he was “haunted daily by the memory of my actions” and accepted the verdict as “just.”
However, his lawyer Michael Vidler told CNN Wednesday that Jutting is appealing his conviction. The South China Morning Post reported the appeal was filed several months ago.
Vidler said Jutting’s case will be heard by the Hong Kong Court of Appeals on December 12.
Simon Young, associate dean of law at the University of Hong Kong, told CNN Jutting’s most likely tactic at appeal was to challenge the judge’s directions to the jury.
“Alternatively there is always the possibility that new evidence, perhaps new medical evidence that would put his diminished responsibility defence beyond doubt has surfaced,” he said, adding that the defense team may also rely on subsequent decisions by higher courts on diminished responsibility and other points of law.
Two murders in six days
On October 27, Jutting killed 23-year-old Ningsih after keeping her captive in his flat for three days. He tortured and degraded her, filming the acts on his iPhone, before slashing her throat in the shower.
Three days later, on November 1, with Ningsih’s body in a suitcase on his balcony, Jutting killed 26-year-old Mujiasih after she wouldn’t stop calling for help, minutes after entering his apartment.
Over the course of the six days in his apartment, Jutting made numerous videos on his phone, describing his plans for future torture and his fears of being caught.
Before the trial began the judge warned prospective jurors the evidence would be “very disturbing indeed,” especially the footage recorded on Jutting’s iPhone.
‘Depraved drug and alcohol addict’
During the trial last year, both sides accepted that Jutting had killed the two women.
The verdict hinged solely on the issue of “diminished responsibility,” whether his mental state at the time of the killings substantially impaired his responsibility.
If the jurors believed as much, Stuart-Moore had instructed them to to find for the lesser charge of manslaughter, not murder.
Jutting’s lawyers argued that he suffered from a debilitating combination of mental problems — alcohol and cocaine addiction, a narcissistic personality and a sexual sadism disorder.
The court rejected that claim however, with Stuart-Moore saying Jutting had failed to show a “shred of remorse” and urging “no one be fooled by (his) superficial charm.”