Omar Benguit: Third appeal bid over Bournemouth murder
THE case of a convicted murderer who was jailed for life for killing a South Korean language student in Bournemouth 19 years ago has come back under the spotlight.
Omar Benguit was found unanimously guilty of the murder of Jong-Ok Shin in 2005.
Benguit, now aged in his late 40s, has had two appeals against his conviction dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
But now an investigation which aired yesterday in a BBC Three show claims to have found new evidence that could provide him with an alibi.
In the programme, Unsolved: An Alibi for Omar?, journalist Bronagh Munro also says several prosecution witnesses claim police pressured them to tell lies about Benguit.
A fresh application has now been made with the Criminal Case Review Commission (CCRC) for a new appeal, reportedly based on the evidence covered in the show.
Jong-Ok Shin, 26 and known as Oki, was stabbed three times while walking home in Charminster from a night out in 2002. No-one witnessed what happened and the knife was never recovered.
Benguit was finally convicted after three trials. He appealed against his conviction, but this appeal was dismissed.
The case was reviewed by the CCRC and referred to the Court of Appeal for a second time but this appeal was also dismissed.
In a statement following the airing of Unsolved, 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.”
A CCRC 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.”
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