A BOURNEMOUTH murderer who has been behind bars for nearly 14 years has been offered a glimmer of hope by a team working round-the-clock to clear his name.

Omar Benguit, now 43, was first arrested for the murder of South Korean language student Jong-Ok Shin in 2002.

After three trials he was finally convicted and jailed for life in 2005 and he has since lost two attempts at the Court of Appeal to overturn his conviction.

But now an academic at the University of Portsmouth and a team of eight students have taken up his case in a so-called innocence project at the Criminal Justice Clinic.

Jong-Ok Shin, 26, was stabbed three times while walking home in Charminster from a night out. No-one witnessed what happened and the knife was never recovered.

Before she died she told police and medics in poor English her attacker wore a mask and had attacked from behind.

Benguit was arrested on August 22, 2002, more than a month after the murder on July 12. His first failed appeal in 2005 argued he should not have been put on trial for a third time and some evidence should not have been allowed.

In 2014, his lawyers unsuccessfully argued another murderer, Danilo Restivo, may be responsible, that the main prosecution witness was unreliable and CCTV showed Benguit was not in the area. Restivo is behind bars for the brutal November 2002 murder of Bournemouth mother-of-two Heather Barnett, which also took place in Charminster.

Portsmouth Universitysenior lecturer Marika Henneberg said: “With Omar’s case, as soon as you start looking at it, the evidence doesn’t exist. There’s nothing there. Once you start scraping on the surface, it just falls apart.

“The main reason for his conviction was the testimony of the main prosecution witness, who was a drug addict. A lot of the information provided has already been disproved.”

The team’s aim is to prove the conviction is unsafe and apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC)again for a third appeal.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Jong-Ok Shin, known as Oki, was a 26-year-old South Korean language student who was making her way home when she was brutally murdered in July 2002 by Omar Benguit in a sudden and unprovoked attack. Her family remain devastated by their loss.

“The case was reviewed by the CCRC and referred to the Court of Appeal.

The appeal was dismissed in April 2014 and this ruling provides absolute clarity that this is both a safe and just conviction.”

A CCRC spokesman said: “There has to be something that sheds new light.”