9:06am Monday 18th June 2012
LAWYERS acting for convicted Hampshire killer Omar Benguit say they have uncovered new evidence which proves he is an innocent man.
They claim CCTV footage obtained from close to the murder scene in Bournemouth puts into question the evidence of the main prosecution witness.
And Benguit’s legal team have also received a report from a pathologist which they say suggests the man responsible for Jong-Ok Shin’s death was doublekiller Danilo Restivo.
Both pieces of evidence have been presented to the Criminal Cases Review Commission which is currently investigating whether Benguit’s conviction is safe.
Benguit, 39, from Lymington, was jailed for life in 2005 for the murder of the South Korean language student, known as Oki, in Malmesbury Park Road, Charminster.
She was found stabbed in the early hours of July 12, 2002. It was the third time Benguit had been taken to trial for Oki’s murder after two juries failed to reach a decision.
The main prosecution witness in the case was a prostitute and heroin addict who claims she drove along Charminster Road in either a red Renault Savanna or a blue Volvo 340 before picking up Benguit and two others and going to and from the murder scene.
But Benguit’s defence team have checked footage from cameras trained on that road 20 minutes either side of the attack and say they can find no trace of either distinctive car on film.
Benguit has always protested his innocence and his bid for freedom intensified in June last year when Danilo Restivo was convicted of the murder of Heather Barnett in nearby Capstone Road on November 12 that same year. He was also convicted last year of the murder of 16-year-old Italian schoolgirl Elisa Claps on September 12, 1993.
Benguit’s lawyers have also sought the expertise of a pathologist who claims the knife used to kill Oki is “totally consistent” with the knife Danilo Restivo was found carrying while under police surveillance in Throop Mill on May 12, 2004.
Speaking to the Echo, Des Jenson, acting for Benguit, said: “The CCTV footage has been sitting there for 10 years. We have had it enhanced and sent off and our experts say it conclusively shows that no Renault Savanna or Volvo 340 can be seen on the CCTV.”
He added: “We think there is sufficient evidence for the CCRC to refer this back to the Court of Appeal and we are confident this will happen.”
Last week the CCRC said their work was ongoing and they could not say when a conclusion would be reached.
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