Korean Student Eunji Ban's Killer Sentenced To Life In Prison

Rejected claimed he was 'possessed'

23 August 2018

Article heading image for Korean Student Eunji Ban's Killer Sentenced To Life In Prison


Relatives of murdered Korean woman Eunji Ban have wept in a Brisbane court after a jury rejected her killer's claims he was gripped by mental illness when he savagely beat her to death.

A Supreme Court jury took less than a day to convict Alex Reuben McEwan of murdering the 22-year-old, earning him a mandatory life sentence.

McEwan had admitted punching, kicking and strangling Ms Ban to death in November 2013 but pleaded not guilty to murder on mental health grounds.

But jurors rejected claims his schizophrenia left him unable to control himself, convicting him on Thursday of murdering her as she walked to her cleaning job.

Members of Ms Ban's family embraced each other and shed tears as the verdict was delivered.

The sister of twin brothers, Ms Ban had arrived in Australia six weeks before her death, leaving Korea to improve her English to realise her dream of becoming a microbiologist.

McEwan had claimed he was possessed by a demon when he attacked the 22-year-old near her Roma Street Parklands unit in the early hours of November 24, 2013.

McEwan, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia after his arrest, told the court he tried but could not prevent himself from attacking Ms Ban.

However, three psychiatrists gave evidence during the trial that they did not believe McEwan was suffering the effects of schizophrenia at the time of the killing.

McEwan's trial was part-heard last year before being abandoned when he claimed two demons told him to attack crown prosecutor David Meredith, with the court determining he was too unwell for trial at the time.

He was later denied an insanity defence in a mental health court.

McEwan, from inner Brisbane suburb Spring Hill, had been drinking with friends the night before the killing, waking up the next day and walking the streets near Ms Ban's home.

He randomly attacked her before she could scream or fight back.

He dragged her body up stairs to the nearby Wickham Park and dumped it by a tree, which he decorated with clumps of her hair.

The trial heard Ms Ban was beaten so badly she drowned in her own blood.

McEwan told police he had set out that morning to kill, and said to a friend he "just felt like" killing someone.

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