Murdered by a ‘man in a mask’: The mystery of the Bournemouth student killed walking home from a night out

Jong-Ok Shin was stabbed to death in 2002

Foreign Languages student, Jong-Ok Shin, was stabbed to death in July 2002 in Charminster, Bournemouth. The 26-year-old Korean student had been walking home from a night out when she was attacked from behind by a "man in a mask". She later died in hospital.

Omar Benguit, a Bournemouth local and heroin addict, was sentenced to life in prison for her murder – but to this day says he is an innocent man.

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Foreign Languages student, Jong-Ok Shin

Something about the case doesn't add up, for one its links and similarities to a notorious serial killer.

Bronagh Munro investigates for BBC Three in a documentary which airs today. She spoke to The Tab Bournemouth all about the case, and the upcoming documentary.

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Bronagh Munro spent six months in Bournemouth filming

"This is an unbelievable story, people couldn’t write this for fiction," Bronagh tells me. "The connections, the twists and turns, the links to a serial killer, even the very nature of the death of such a young student is so brutal.

"The storytelling and the fact this man has spent 16 years in prison yet still protests his innocence is quite exciting."

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Omar Benguit is serving life

Jong-Ok Shin, known as Oki, had been walking home from a night out when she was attacked. She is described as a popular girl, who was coming to the end of her studies. Her English was good, and she had made a nice life for herself in Bournemouth.

She enjoyed the social scene of the area and had been celebrating finishing exams in Elements nightclub (now called Cameo), with friends she had made at uni.

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Oki inside the club

The group she was with all left together and walked home, dropping each other off at their doors. Oki was the last one left walking home. She was then stabbed, and left alone to die on the pavement. She was metres from her home.

Before she died she managed to say she had been attacked from behind by "a man in a mask".

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The murder scene

Bronagh told The Tab Bournemouth how everyone in Bournemouth was horrified by the crime.

"It rocked not just students, but all the people here – especially as the area is such a close-knit community.

"There was shock and there was worry for the students."

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The case is said to have links to Danilo Restivo, a convicted serial killer in Bournemouth

Bronagh has close connections to the town, the place she began her career in journalism, and spent a period of time working for The Echo.

She told us how she really likes Bournemouth, and that the town has a unique sunny side to it as well as a much less sunny side, such as the case that this documentary explores.

"We've taken the attitude of filming warts and all," she said. "There are parts of the documentary that were really shocking even to us."

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At a point in the series, Bronagh confronts the man accused of the murder, Omar Benguit, who is currently serving his life sentence in a category A prison. She asks him if he committed the murder, which he denies.

Bronagh is a self-confessed investigator at heart, and when she looked at the prosecution more closely, she found things that didn't quite add up.

She says: "They are so many inconsistencies. 12 out of 17 witnesses that gave evidence were addicts with serious addictions, to either heroin or crack cocaine. They are vulnerable, and often tell people what they want to hear. How much reliability can you get?"

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Omar Benguit's mugshot

Almost all of the filming was in Bournemouth, around the seafront and town centre, Boscombe and Charminster where the murder took place.

Bronagh says her links to Bournemouth made her more shocked and interested in the case.

"There were real 'oh wow' moments, to hear all this now after so much time is just incredible.

"We spoke to lots of people and you can see the shock in their faces.

"I think some of the most poignant moments for me were how some people were willing to help us because they felt guilty for what they did.

"I spent a lot of time talking to addicts, and they can be any member of anyone’s family that have fallen into that lifestyle. It’s a shocking reminder of how lucky you are to go through life without that happening to you."

A similar knife to the one used to kill Oki

This case is like no other, and Bronagh is very aware of the consequences that come from investigating a case like this.

"You always have the jeopardy of 'if I am wrong, I’m helping to free a murderer'.

"That’s quite a big bar to set and something that would keep me up a lot. It makes me question everything time and time again.

"This is not just drama, this is real life."

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The documentary's main story stays with Omar and his family, and what has happened to them after his conviction.

The family have lived in Bournemouth all their lives – and still live with the consequences of him being named and shamed as a convicted murderer.

All six episodes of Unsolved: The Man With no Alibi will be available on BBC Three via iPlayer today.

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