SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — A South Korean court sentenced a man to life in prison on Tuesday for murdering a woman he had stalked for years.
The Seoul High Court sentenced 32-year-old Jeon Joo-hwan for killing a former colleague in revenge after the victim reported him to the police for stalking.
Over nearly two years, Jeon followed and threatened the woman on more than 300 separate occasions but was never detained, despite her filing repeated complaints, as police deemed him “low risk”.
On 14 September last year, a day before Jeon was due to be sentenced for stalking, he stabbed her to death in a public restroom at a Seoul subway station.
Jeon reportedly told investigators that he had been angered by the legal problems his victim had caused him. He had been fired from his job at the Seoul Metro — where the woman also worked — after she first reported him for stalking.
A district court had sentenced Jeon in February to 40 years in prison in the murder case. He was separately given an additional nine years for stalking.
The two cases have been combined for an appellate ruling, with prosecutors demanding stronger punishment.
“Revenge crime requires strict punishment as it incapacitates the criminal justice system,” the court said in Tuesday’s verdict, according to Yonhap news agency.
“There is a great need to prevent such a crime from happening again by making it clear that those who violate the life of an innocent person with unreasonable intention and purpose will pay the price.”
Jeon’s case will be automatically referred to the Supreme Court for a final ruling, as a defendant given a life sentence or a heavier punishment in a criminal case cannot by law give up appeal.