IN TWO months and a matter of days it will be 19 years since South Korean language student Jong-Ok Shin was stabbed to death in Bournemouth during the early hours.

Omar Benguit has now spent more than 16 years behind bars for her murder.

Benguit faced three trials before he was finally convicted by a jury at Winchester Crown Court in January 2005.

He has always maintained his innocence.

Two attempts to challenge his conviction were dismissed by Court of Appeal judges, in 2005 and 2014, respectively.

Now, as a new BBC Three television show, Unsolved: An Alibi for Omar?, airs, it has been confirmed that efforts to launch a third appeal have been started.


Jong-Ok Shin, 26, known to her friends as Oki, was stabbed three times while walking home in Charminster from a night out on July 12.

The last image of her alive was on CCTV from Elements nightclub in Bournemouth town centre earlier that evening.

No-one witnessed what happened in Malmesbury Park Road when she was attacked 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.

Bournemouth Echo: Jong-Ok ShinJong-Ok Shin

Benguit was arrested on August 22, 2002, more than a month after the murder.

He was found unanimously guilty by a jury at Winchester Crown Court in January 2005 at his third trial after two previous juries had failed to reach a verdict. This was said to be the first case in Dorset in which a defendant faced three trials for the same allegation.

Benguit was told he would have to serve at least 20 years before being considered for parole.


Following his conviction, Benguit took the opportunity available to defendants found guilty at the crown court by launching a challenge in the Court of Appeal.

This first appeal in 2005 argued he should not have been put on trial for a third time and some evidence should not have been allowed but three judges rejected this bid. A petition to the House of Lords was also refused.

Fresh hope was given to Benguit when he was granted leave to appeal for a second time in late 2012.

The previous year his legal team had submitted a document to the Criminal Cases Review Commission calling for them to review his case.

Benguit's lawyers said they believed the man responsible for Oki’s murder was double-killer Danilo Restivo - who lived just three roads away from where the South Korean was murdered.

They also said there were inconsistencies in the main prosecution witness’s evidence and added that they have found CCTV footage which put her account of events in doubt.

The second appeal was heard at the Court of Appeal in March 2014 and the verdict of the three judges was handed down the following month, in which they dismissed the challenge.


Seven years have gone by since the Court of Appeal ruling but Benguit's family have never given up the efforts to clear his name.

In 2016, as reported by the Daily Echo, an academic at the University of Portsmouth and a team of eight students took up the case in a so-called innocence project at the Criminal Justice Clinic.

The team aimed to prove the conviction was unsafe and apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) again for a third appeal.

Two years later, Benguit's case was examined in detail by journalist Bronagh Munro and her findings were aired in BBC Three mini-series Unsolved: The Man With No Albi.

And this week a new broadcast from Ms Munro was released, titled Unsolved: An Alibi for Omar?

The show reports that several prosecution witnesses from Benguit's third trial claim police pressured them to tell lies about Benguit.

A fresh application has now been made with the Criminal Case Review Commission for a new appeal, reportedly based on the evidence covered in the new programme.

Bournemouth Echo: Omar BenguitOmar Benguit

Benguit, who is now aged in his late 40s, is approaching the minimum term of imprisonment for the life sentence he received in 2005. He continues to deny murder and maintain his innocence.

A Criminal Cases Review Commission spokeswoman told the Daily Echo: “We can confirm that we received an application, on behalf of Mr Benguit, on May 4.

“This is his second application to us and, as with all re-applications, will be subject to an initial triage to determine if there is any significant new evidence and/or argument before an informed decision can be taken to review it or not.”


The Daily Echo approached Dorset Police following the airing of Unsolved: An Alibi for Omar?

In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Ben Hargreaves, of 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 in a sudden and unprovoked attack.

“Our investigation into Oki’s murder was thorough, detailed and very complex.

"We submitted our evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, which considered there to be sufficient evidence to charge Omar Benguit with Oki’s murder and proceeded with the prosecution. Omar Benguit was unanimously convicted in January 2005 by a jury at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of Jong-Ok Shin. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

“Benguit appealed against his conviction, but this appeal was dismissed in July 2005 by judges at the Court of Appeal.

“The case was reviewed by the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) and referred to the Court of Appeal for a second time on the basis of the reliability of a prosecution witness and the suggestion of a possible alternative suspect. The appeal was dismissed in April 2014.

“This case has been through a series of reviews and any matter surrounding concerns regarding this conviction is ultimately a matter for the CCRC and the Court of Appeal.

"Dorset Police would follow the direction and instigate investigations if directed by the courts and responsible authorities.

“As always, our thoughts are with Oki’s family and friends who remain devastated by their loss.”

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