A LEGAL expert who has spent months investigating the murder of South Korean language student Jong Ok Shin says the man jailed for her death is innocent.

Barry Loveday, reader in criminal justice studies at Portsmouth University, is convinced Omar Benguit is innocent and has been the victim of a major miscarriage of justice.

Jong Ok Shin, affectionately known as Oki to friends, was stabbed three times in the back as she walked along Malmesbury Park Road, Charminster, on July 12, 2002, following a night out with friends.

Benguit was jailed for life in January 2005 after being convicted of the murder of Oki and was told he would have to serve at least 20 years before being considered for parole.

Unusually, it was the third time he had stood trial accused of her murder after two previous juries had failed to reach a verdict.

In July 2005 he appealed against his conviction but three judges at the Court of Appeal rejected his bid. A petition to the House of Lords was also refused.

Benguit's family have fought tirelessly to clear his name and have now sought the help of Mr Loveday. He was asked to review the case on behalf of the family, who have gained access to a large number of evidential files.

He spent several months investigating the murder and has prepared a 17-page report outlining the reasons why he believes Benguit was wrongly jailed for murder. He believes he should be released and the Oki murder inquiry reopened.

"I am genuinely of the view there has been a serious miscarriage of justice here and nothing I have read or heard would change my opinion of it.

"I think the whole thing is bizarre. The key witness in the case was a prostitute whose extraordinary version of events is just not believable."

He said her claims of being gang-raped were discredited by a jury and Benguit's co-defendant Nick Gbadamosi, who was charged with rape of the main witness and assisting a murderer, was also cleared by a jury.

Mr Loveday added: "The case against Omar Benguit is simply not credible and is not backed up by any forensic evidence.

"Shortly before she died, the victim said her attacker was wearing a mask but the key witness makes no such mention of a mask.

"I am deeply troubled by this case. I believe the real killer was not caught and that he still poses a threat to women in the area."

The family will now send Mr Loveday's report to Dorset Police and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Superintendent Phil James, of Dorset Police, said: "Clearly Mr Benguit has been found guilty by a jury in the crown court. I have asked for a copy of Mr Loveday's paper and as yet he won't release it to me. I couldn't comment any further."

Benguit's case has now been taken on by the Miscarriage of Justice Organisation (MOJO) which believes it is one of the most serious miscarriages of justice they have come across.