Omar Benguit
Omar Benguit


===== Start Press Release
18th June 2012 =======




The murder of Korean student Jong Ok-Shin occurred at about 2.50am on 12th July 2002 when she was walking home along Malmesbury Park Road in Bournemouth following a night out with friends. An assailant wearing a "mask" (according to her dying words) stabbed her several times in the back and she died later that morning in hospital.


About a month later a woman by the name of Beverly Brown was caught shoplifting and when interviewed for that offence on 22nd August 2002 she was found to have crucial information about the murder. She said that on the night in question she was travelling with three men in her car - Omar Benguit, Nicholas Gbadamosi and Delroy Woolry -   and that on entering the road where 'Oki' was walking (‘Oki’ was Jong Ok-Shin's nickname) the men jumped out and accosted the victim before running back to the car.


Ms Brown said Benguit was the murderer by virtue of the fact that when the three men returned to the car, she saw him with blood on his tee-shirt wrapping an object in a towel, which he then put into a shopping bag and stored under a seat, while Gbadamosi (one of the other men) who assisted him in the offence said "what have you done?" or words to that effect - the implication being that Benguit had just stabbed Oki.


Ms Brown had even more to say about the three men, which is that immediately after the murder she drove them all to a crack-house in Clements Road, Bournemouth, where they smoked crack cocaine. She then drove them to an unknown cul-de-sac, where the men took turns to rape her on "gravel" ground. She was able to give graphic and disturbing details of what took place: "red-handled pliers" were allegedly forced into her vagina and rectum; Woolry attempted to anally rape her; Gbadamosi forced her to perform oral sex which culminated with him ejaculating into her mouth; and both Benguit and Woolry ejaculated into her vagina.


Following this 'gang-rape' she then drove the three men to another house in Cunningham Crescent where Benguit had a shower to wash blood from himself. The towel he used together with his blood-stained clothing and knife were wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown by Gbadamosi into a river before Brown was finally allowed to return home to bathe.


On another occasion Gbadamosi had raped her at the Queen's Park Golf Club- again on "gravel" ground.


Delroy Woolry who was allegedly one of the passengers in Brown's car  was interviewed but not charged, but their finding of insufficient evidence did not cause them to ponder whether Brown might be telling them a pack of lies in respect to both her accusations of rape and the murder of Jong Ok-Shin.


1st Trial


Benguit was charged with the murder of Jong Ok-Shin, with Gbadamosi accused of assisting in the offence.They were jointly charged with raping Brown and Gbadamosi was also charged with the rape of Brown at the golf club.


The jury found Gbadamosi not guilty of rape but could not reach a verdict on whether he assisted Benguit in the murder. They were unable to reach verdicts in respect to Benguit, who had no idea where he was on the day in question.


2nd Trial


The prosecution continued to rely on Beverly Brown as a 'witness of truth' and retried Benguit  for both the murder of 'Oki' and the rape of Brown, while Gbadamosi was again charged with assisting in the murder.


Gbadamosi was able to locate CCTV evidence which showed that he was not with Brown as she claimed and a speeding camera had caught him late in the evening in another part of town. The jury found him not guilty of assisting an offender.


The jury found Mr Benguit not guilty of rape, but could not reach a verdict on the murder charge.


It is worth pausing here to note that no DNA from any of the three men or the victim could be found in Brown's car.


The CPS then applied for permission from the Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Kenneth Macdonald QC, to launch a 3rd trial, which was granted in January 2005. Lord Macdonald (as he is now known) is described on the internet as a "clever and resourceful man" and it is to be assumed that the investigating police officers and the CPS were no less capable of assessing the strength of the evidence against Benguit when deciding whether to continue to prosecute him.


3rd Trial - January 2005


The decision to continue with the prosecution was seemingly vindicated because Benguit was finally convicted of the murder of Jong Ok-Shin. New evidence was submitted for the first time which showed that Benguit possessed a knife similar to the murder weapon.  Mrs Justice Hallett rubbed salt into Benguit's wounds when sentencing him to life imprisonment by saying:


"This was a wicked crime...Poor Oki-Shin lies dead. Her family must mourn her terribly. From everything we have heard she was a lovely and kind girl. But for the courage of a number of your fellow addicts you would have walked free and you very nearly did. In my view on the evidence presented to this court you are a totally nasty piece of work and a very dangerous young man."


Detective Inspector Kevin Connolly of Dorset police who was in charge of the police investigation said: "I would like to welcome today's outcome on behalf of Oki's parents. Today's verdict represents the imprisonment of a very violent and dangerous offender - whose sexual desires drove him to murder Oki. Many witnesses from the drug world gave evidence as they were appalled by Benguit's crimes and I would like to personally thank them. Omar Benguit has now been imprisoned which I hope assists Oki's family to come to terms with their tragic loss."


It is difficult to see what was so compelling about the evidence against Benguit  when the police had already been alerted to Danilo Restivo's possible connection with the murders of Oki-Shin and Heather Barnett.


We should leave aside the following considerations:


1) Ms Brown was a prostitute / crack-addict with convictions for dishonesty who made complaints of sexual assault against her police handlers during the murder investigation, which Dorset police found to be false.


2) She originally named another person as the murderer!


3) She said the victim was walking on the wrong side of the street to where she was actually murdered.


4) She said Benguit liked Korean girls and had shouted out while passing Oki "Cor, look at the arse on that!"


5) She named three men who were allegedly travelling in her car and who jointly raped her later that morning after the murder - Benguit, Gbadamosi and Woolry. Gbadamosi was able to prove that he could not have been in the car as CCTV showed him to be somewhere else; Woolry was presumably not in the car because he was not charged by the police; Benguit could not say where he was on the night in question. No DNA belonging to any of the three men or the victim was discovered in her car.


6) The victim said before she died: "someone came from behind wearing a mask - he ran off and I saw my own blood" . No reference was made to Benguit having had with him a mask and the victim spoke of only one assailant - not three.  


7) She later appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show to say that she had actually seen Benguit plunge his knife into Oki-Shin, whereas at trial she had said she couldn't see the actual attack from where she was parked, but could only hear shouts as the three men ran back to her car (which none of the neighbours reported hearing).


A motley group of 14 crack addicts and 'smack heads' were assembled to provide highly incriminating evidence of Benguit's guilt. Dorset police should be commended for tracking them down as late as one year after the crime, particularly as all of them shared phenomenal memories about the background to the crime.


(1) Mr John Macleod corroborated Ms Brown's evidence by saying in the first trial that "on the morning following the murder, Benguit had blood on his shoes and he confessed he was behind Oki when she was stabbed in the back."

(2) Ms Leanne Meyers made a statement  in June 2003 saying how she remembered seeing Benguit in possession of a "15cm long knife with a serrated edge and a curved tip" around  the time of the murder in July 2002.  For some reason she thought it important to correct her statement by saying that " the cutting edge was actually straight and not serrated", which accurately described the murder weapon according to the forensic report.


(3) Amanda Kelly - reported Omar's 'confession'.
(4) John Kelly - reported Omar calling in at his house to wipe his hands on a towel in the early hours of the morning.

(5) Charlotte Johnson - reported Omar's drug taking and early morning visit.

(6) Victoria Ling - reported that Omar was sweaty, flustered and not normal following the crime.

(7) Joan Sheriden - reported on Omar's visit to crack house en route to the alleged rape.

(8) Richard Oliver - corroborating evidence

(9) Lisa Calamari - corroborating evidence

(10) Carla Mills - corroborating evidence
(11) Andrew Miller
- corroborating evidence

(12) Emilene Roberts - corroborating evidence: “I was first asked about this on 7th November 2003, but one of the reasons it stuck in my mind is that I don’t normally sleep with men”.

(13) Suzanne Thomas - corroborating evidence
Nicola Hazlett - corroborating evidence:
"Members of the jury, you may think she was a completely useless witness who was so much out of it, she did not remember anything"...Mrs Justice Hallett.


(15) Mr Jonathan Cutting gave evidence to say he had seen Benguit sharpening "a six inch (15cm) long knife" in his house, although the witness could not remember when this occurred.


In reality, the only evidence which linked Omar Benguit to the murder of Jong Ok-Shin was the fact that he lived in the same town as her. Dorset police and the CPS fail to appreciate that even if all three men had been travelling in Brown's car as she claimed, CCTV evidence shows that her car was never in the vicinity of the crime at the relevant time.



The Omar Benguit trials were conducted by Kate Brown, Chief Crown Prosecutor of Dorset and Alastair Nisbet of the CPS. She says on the CPS website: "Let me assure you, I have a strong team of high calibre prosecutors. What I am doing is to make the team even better."


The trials were a travesty of justice which allowed the real perpetrator of the crime Danilo Restivo free to kill only a few streets and months away from where Oki Shin had been slain. Heather Barnett paid with her life for the incompetence of Dorset police and the CPS, while the Court of Appeal declared Mr Benguit's conviction, based wholly on the obvious lies and conflicting testimony crack addicts, to be "safe".


Danilo Restivo settled in Bournemouth in March 2002 having moved there from Italy. His presence was notified to Dorset police by a telex from the Italian police on 29th August 2002, warning that Restivo was a "grave danger to women" and advising that "he should be investigated for the Oki murder". Dorset police replied to their Italian counterparts in September 2002 informing them that they need not worry about Restivo, as they had apprehended Benguit.


In November 2002 Heather Barnett was murdered in her own house opposite to where Restivo lived and a few streets away from where Oki-Shin had been slain, but this did not ring any alarm bells with the police or indeed with the CPS even though Restivo was at the scene of the crime offering sympathy to the victim's children.


The third and final trial of Omar Benguit took place in January 2005 while Danilo Restivo was being kept under 24 hour surveillance and when he had already been cautioned in May 2004 for having in his possession a knife [picture]  identical in size and shape to the murder weapon used against Jong Ok-Shin and a balaclava (ie "mask"). [picture]


A fresh clump of human hair  [picture] was found at the very spot   where Oki-Shin was stabbed, but neither the police nor the CPS are prepared to admit that this evidence has any significance, even though in the Heather Barnett trial the presence of hair at the crime scene was considered to be a unique feature and "hallmark" of Danilo Restivo.


The CCRC have been asked to review the case to establish:


(i) whether the arrest and conviction of Danilo Restivo has provided sufficient fresh evidence to cast doubt on the safety of Benguit's conviction.


(ii) whether the non-closure of information about Restivo conveyed by the Italian police to Dorset police on 29th August 2002 and on other occasions prior to and following Heather Barnett's murder was a material irregularity.


(iii) whether Ms Brown's appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show can safely be reconciled with her former evidence.


(iv) that CCTV evidence proves her car did not travel along Charminster Rd towards the junction with Malmesbury Park Rd in the early hours of 12th July 2002 as she claimed and hence it is safe to conclude that her car along with her hypothetical passengers could not have been at the scene of the crime.


It is anticipated that the CCRC will make a referral of this case in the very near future following further forensic testing of material requested by the defence and that in the course of time a full enquiry will be launched to establish how these three trials against two innocent people ever saw the light of day.


 =====End Press Release =====


6th July 2011- The following statement has been provided by Mr Benguit's defence team.


Omar Benguit’s conviction is a serious miscarriage of justice. On reading about the facts of the case and having become aware of the fresh evidence which has arisen post-trial, it must be clear that his conviction is unsafe.

Jong Ok-Shin (known as 'Oki' Shin), a student from Korea, was studying English in Bournemouth and was murdered on the 12th of July 2002. She had been to a night club in the town centre and on her way back home she was murdered by a masked man, who repeatedly stabbed her.

Mr Benguit was convicted of her murder after three trials and sentenced to 20 years.

At trial, the only evidence against Benguit came from an unreliable witness, with convictions in the past for dishonesty. This witness first named another man as the killer of Oki Shin and told many lies. The witness also said that Benguit along with another man had raped her on the same night after the murder, but both Benguit and the other man were acquitted of those charges. Some years after Benguit’s conviction for murder, the witness appeared on the Jeremy Kyle show and told a completely different story to that of her evidence of what happened on the night of Oki Shin’s murder. She had told three different juries that she did not see the murder, but she told Jeremy Kyle that she had actually seen Benguit kill Oki Shin with a knife.

The murder of Oki Shin on 12th July 2002 bears conspicuous similarities to two other murders: the murder of Elisa Claps, who was killed in Italy on the 12th of September 1993, and the murder of Heather Barnett who was killed in Bournemouth on the 12th of November 2002. Danilo Restivo was convicted at Winchester Crown Court on the 30th of June 2011 for murdering Heather Barnett, but he was also a suspect in the murder of Elisa Claps. The prosecution told the jury about the similarities between the murders of Heather Barnett and Elisa Claps and Restivo was given a whole life sentence without parole.

The general circumstances of all three murders are significantly similar: apart from the fact that each victim was a female and was savagely attacked from behind, all three women were murdered in or close to their homes while Restivo lived in their immediate vicinity. Oki Shin, Elisa Claps and Heather Barnett were also remarkably all murdered on the 12th day of the month. This common date between their murders is not mere coincidence.

Restivo was eventually arrested on the 12th of May 2004 in an undercover police operation, when police observed him spying on women in a park and they felt he had to be stopped. He was inappropriately dressed in two layers of clothing which were out of keeping with the fine weather on that day.  In the Heather Barnett trial, the prosecution claimed that Restivo was meticulous in attempting to minimise forensic evidence against him and his attire on the day of his arrest was no doubt designed to achieve this aim. Ironically however, the extra clothing he wore only served to arouse the suspicion of the officers watching him.

He was found to have with him a knife, scissors and a balaclava which were common elements in the method of killing used on the three victims; and it is safe to conclude that had the police not arrested Restivo on 12th May 2004, another victim could well have paid with their life on that very day.

The forensic pathologist in the Oki Shin case described the knife she was attacked with as “single-edged,14-15 cm long, tapering to the point”.

Knife found in possession of Danilo Restivo
Knife found in possession of Danilo Restivo

This exact type of knife was found in Restivo's bag when he was arrested. When questioned about why he had the knife, Restivo told police that he found it in Throop Park, but when his house was later searched, a set of kitchen knives were found to be identical to the knife he had with him.

One of the most extraordinary features present in all three murders is that hair from a complete stranger was left at the scene of the crime by the murderer. A clump of light brown human hair [picture] was found at the scene of Oki Shin's murder and human hair was found in the hands of both Heather Barnett and Elisa Claps.

Danilo Restivo has admitted having a hair fetish and girls living in his local area had complained to the police about a man surreptitiously cutting their hair with scissors.

Mr Michael Bowes QC, prosecuting Restivo for the murder of Heather Barnett, drew comparisons with the murder of Elisa Clapps when he said: "The presence of cut hair after death in both cases... is strikingly similar and is akin to a hallmark."

There is no rational explanation for the presence of the fresh clump of hair found close to Oki Shin's body other than the fact that it is indeed a hallmark or 'calling-card' of Danilo Restivo.

Before Oki Shin died, she managed to tell a doctor that her attacker was "wearing a mask”. Restivo had a balaclava [picture] with him when he was arrested. Oki Shin was an English language student and had only a basic knowledge of English, so she would have been unlikely to have known the word “balaclava”.

In addition to all these factors is the evidence the residents of the street gave. They heard Oki Shin's attacker speaking in a foreign accent. Restivo ties in with this description, but Omar does not. Omar speaks with a plain English accent, while Restivo has a thick foreign accent. None of the residents heard 'three men runnning back to the car'.

To believe that Omar Benguit killed
Jong Ok-Shin based upon the uncorroborated evidence of a wholly unreliable witness is to suspend all rational thought, particularly when all the evidence clearly points to Danilo Restivo.

It is plain to see that a grave miscarriage of justice has yet again been allowed to occur by the police and the CPS.

Images used on this page

Danilo Restivo's knife           Danilo Restivo's balaclava           Clump of hair found at the crime scene.

                   Danilo Restivo's knife  |   Danilo Restivo's balaclava  | Clump of hair from crime scene

Three victims of Danilo Restivo and a possible fourth whose body has not yet been found.
The image of missing student Erika Ansermin was found on Restivo's computer.
Her body has not yet been found.

Forensic investigations in this case are being funded by The Sherlock Holmes Museum. [Link]

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