New probe into conviction of Omar Benguit for murder of Jong-Ok Shin

Law chiefs reopen murder case

Jong-Ok Shin

Omar Benguit

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

LAW chiefs have reopened the case of a Hampshire man convicted seven years ago of killing a South Korean student.

Omar Benguit from Lymington was sentenced to life in January 2005 for the murder of Jong-Ok Shin, known as Oki, who was stabbed in the back as she walked through Charminster in Bournemouth in the early hours of July 12, 2002.

He was told he would have to serve at least 20 years in jail before he would be considered for release by the parole board.

Now the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is looking into Benguit's case following the conviction last year of Danilo Restivo for the murder of Heather Barnett, also in Bournemouth.

The Daily Echo understands that the CCRC has been in touch with Interpol with a number of questions in relation to the Italian investigation involving Restivo.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Benguit submitted a 26-page document shortly after Restivo was convicted last June of Heather's murder.

They claim Benguit, 39, is innocent and Restivo murdered 26-year-old Oki four months before he brutally attacked Heather Barnett at her home in Charminster, on November 12, 2002. Oki was killed just three roads away from where Heather and Restivo lived.

Benguit was convicted of killing Oki during a third trial after the first two juries failed to reach a verdict. An appeal bid in 2005 was dismissed.

It has since emerged that police looked at Restivo as part of the early investigation into Oki's murder.

A spokesman from the CCRC said Benguit's case was still under review and said he wasn't able to say when a conclusion would be reached.

Des Jenson, part of Benguit's legal team, confirmed the case was still with the CCRC and added: "We are still confident it will be sent to the Court of Appeal."

In September last year, Italian national Restivo launched an appeal against his murder conviction of Heather Barnett. No date has been set for a hearing.

In November Restivo was handed a 30-year prison sentence by an Italian court for the killing of 16-year-old schoolgirl Elisa Claps.

The 39-year-old was tried in his absence with Elisa's murder after her mummified remains were discovered in the roof of a church in Potenza, Italy, in 2010 - 18 years after she disappeared.

A spokesman for Dorset Police said: "Omar Benguit was convicted of Jong-Ok Shin's murder in 2005. He appealed against conviction - his appeal was dismissed."

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