DOUBLE-murderer Danilo Restivo may have been responsible for a third killing for which a man was jailed nearly a decade ago, a court heard.
Omar Benguit appeared via video link from prison at the Court of Appeal in London to offer evidence that his conviction for the murder of South Korean student Jong-Ok Shin in Malmesbury Park Road, Bournemouth, on July 12, 2002, was unsound.
Representing Benguit, now 42, Rag Chand said the murder of 26-year old Oki, as she was known, bore several "hallmarks" which characterised those of Restivo's two victims - Bournemouth mum Heather Barnett and Italian schoolgirl Elisa Claps.
He said all three involved attacks from behind on lone women he lived near to, involved a knife and an element of preparation, and all took place on the 12th of the month.
He said Restivo, who lived three roads away from Oki at the time of her death, had been arrested in Throop Mill Park on May 12, 2004, as police were concerned about his "suspicious" activity.
During their investigation, he said, a balaclava and knife had been found in Restivo's car - a knife which matched Oki's injuries.
He said the student's last words about her assailant being masked might have referred to the balaclava.
"We respectfully submit that it is possible based upon the evidence that Restivo might have been the killer," he told the court.
"Had that evidence been before the jury they could not have been sure that the defendant was the killer."
Mr Chand also said new evidence put doubt on the testimony of one of the witnesses during Benguit's trial, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
For the Crown, Nigel Lickley QC said: "The case of the Crown is that the conviction of Omar Benguit is safe."
He told the appeal court judges that there were similarities present in the Restivo murder cases which were absent in Oki's.
Mr Lickley said hair found at the scene of Oki's death was that of a woman who lived nearby, who had had her hair cut at home earlier that day.
He said Benguit had admitted wearing a hood on the night of the murder and had a scar on his face, which might have led Oki - whose grasp of English was poor - to describe him as wearing a mask.
Lady Justice Rafferty DBE adjourned the court for the appeal judges to consider their verdict, which is expected in the form of a written statement next month.
- Benguit was jailed for life in 2005 and told he would have to serve at least 20 years behind bars.
The prosecution in each of his three trials claimed Benguit, then 30, was high on crack cocaine and heroin and stabbed Oki because she rejected his advances.
The case was taken to court a third time in 2005 because two previous juries couldn’t reach a verdict, and he was eventually found guilty of the crime.