Bori Benko murder: Killer who stabbed youth worker 40 times in her West Yorkshire flat sentenced to life in prison

A man has been sentenced to at least 31 years in prison after he stabbed to death a 24-year-old youth worker in her bedroom in West Yorkshire.

By Victoria Finan
Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:44 pm

The incident, which happened in Bradford last November, was described in court as a “brutal, sustained and frenzied attack.”

Borbala Benko, who hoped to train as a priest, died after Zbiegniew Soj, also 24, came back drunk to their shared accommodation at the Discovery Centre, housing run by a Christian charity for international students.

After drinking beer and vodka and watching a horror film, he took a sharpened knife from the communal kitchen, went into her bedroom and woke her before stabbing her 40 times. She died of catastrophic blood loss at the scene.

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Hungarian-born Ms Benko was known to friends and family as Bori

Bradford Crown Court heard that Ms Benko, who was a regular worshipper and volunteer at Bradford Cathedral, was very likely sexually assaulted by Soj either during her killing or shortly afterwards.

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Soj, who pleaded guilty earlier this year, told his doctor that he had had an “intrusive thought” on the evening of November 20 2021 telling him he had to end someone’s life due to “curiousity and jealousy.”

Following the killing of Hungarian-born Ms Benko, who was known to friends and family as Bori, he also stabbed a second female housemate, Klaudia Rogozinska, 21, who managed to persuade him to stop.

Zbigniew Soj, 24, stabbed Borbala 'Bori' Benko 40 times in the apartment block they shared (Photo: WYP)

She contacted the emergency services and the recording of the 999 call heard Soj say “I got ****ing drunk and this happened. I am jealous that other people have normal lives. You are all ****ing great. We got smashed and I guess some demons got to me.”

Soj was arrested at the scene in the early hours of November 21.

The court heard a moving victim impact statement from Ms Benko’s mother, Krisztina Benkone Antal, who told of how she will wait until her dying breath for her daughter to come home.

She told the court: “She had a bright future ahead of her. She devoted her life to teaching young children and lived by Christian values.

“She believed in equality, in the power of love.

“She had so many plans but that is all in the past now.

“Our first born child who we knew was a gift. She was very special from an early age. We got so much love from her. She glowed wherever she went.

“I want to hold her. I was not able to protect my wonderful little girl. That I did not feel the impending trouble and say ‘Come home’.

“I wake up at night and I see the killer over my defenceless little girl.

“What was she thinking in the last minutes? Did she call for us? Did she call for God? How many stabs did she have to endure before her life ended? I just have to hope it was not all 40.

“She was a little treasure. Until my last breath I will wait for you to come home.”

She told of how Ms Benko learnt sign language to communicate with deaf children, and fasted during Ramadan to show solidarity with Muslim friends.

Ms Benko’s mother was praised by Judge Jonathan Rose in court for the dignity in which she read her statement.

Providing a narrative of events, prosecutor Mr McKone told how Ms Benko had suffered stab wounds to her chest and abdomen, and that evidence showed a sexual assault was likely.

Police arrived and found Soj covered in blood saying “I deserve to die right now.”

The court heard Soj was a devoted Christian who had excelled in his studies in his native Poland, but had struggled with depression and anxiety since moving to the UK.

Sentencing Soj to life with a minimum of 31 years for Ms Benko’s murder, Judge Jonathan Rose said: “You took advantage of your violent attack to derive sexual pleasure from this brutal, sustained and frenzied attack.

“The lost potential of what she would have been and what she would have done for others is obvious.”

Judge Rose said that Soj being on medication that interacted badly with alcohol may have been a factor in his state of mind, as was his viewing of a horror movie shortly before the killing, but rejected the idea that his mental illness was to blame for the attacks.

Soj was also handed a sentence of 14 years for the attempted murder of Ms Rogozinska to run concurrently.

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Vanessa Rolfe of the homicide and major enquiry team at West Yorkshire Police said:” This was an horrific and spontaneous attack on two young women as they slept in their own home.

"Soj was someone they trusted and no-one could ever have predicted that he would do this.

"Bori had her whole life ahead of her and this was cruelly taken away by Soj.

"I welcome Soj’s guilty plea and sparing Klaudia and Bori’s family to have to go through a trial.

"I hope that Bori’s family and Klaudia find comfort and justice in today’s sentence.

"It’s positive news to see that Klaudia is recovering from her injuries and is now trying to move forward with her life."

A memorial service was held for Ms Benko earlier this week at Bradford Cathedral, and a foundation in her name has been set up to help educate children in Hungary.