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British banker pleads 'not guilty' to Hong Kong murders

Jutting is accused of killing two Indonesian women, both in their 20's. The killings shocked Hong Kong and shone a spotlight on the seedy underbelly of the financial hub. Photograph: (Reuters)

Hong Kong Oct 24, 2016, 04.09 AM (IST)

Rurik Jutting, who is accused of murdering two Indonesian women in his upscale flat in Hong Kong, has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter on Monday.

"Not guilty to murder by reason of diminished responsibility, but guilty to manslaughter," a calm and clean-shaven Jutting said on the first day of the three-week trial.

The former Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee faces life in prison if he's proven guilty of murder of the two women in 2014.

On November 1, 2014, Sumarti Ningsih and Seneng Mujiasih, both in their 20s, were found in Jutting's upscale one-bedroom flat in Wan ChaiHong Kong.

Police found the women dead after Jutting called them three times to report that "something happened" in his 31st-floor apartment.

One of the victims was found crammed in a suitcase and the other was found lying on the floor of his flat with wounds to her neck and back.

Police also found a 12-inch knife, cocaine and sex toys during their search of the apartment.

The victims were originally believed to be sex workers but further investigations suggested they were migrant domestic workers.

The murders generated a storm of protests from migrant workers' association which have called for a speedy and a fair trial.

Chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance Eni Lestari said violence against migrant workers in Hong Kong was not a solitary case.

"One of the reason is because they are women. And second they are women migrants. You know, the culprit knows that these women moving to Hong Kong as domestic workers or other type of job, are very vulnerable," Reuters quoted Lestari as saying.

This is the highest-profile murder case to have been investigated by Hong Kong courts since American Nancy Kissel was accused of killing her banker husband in 2003, according to AFP.

Kissel is currently serving a life sentence for drugging her husband and clubbing him to death.

(WION with inputs from agencies)

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