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French student Sophie Collombet’s death: Man charged with rape and murder in Brisbane

Sol Ahn

Thu Apr 17 2014

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A 25-YEAR-OLD man has been charged with the murder of French international student Sophie Collembet. She is the fourth international student to be killed in Brisbane since November last year. Sol Ahn reports.

Benjamin James Milward has been charged with the rape and murder of 21-year-old French international student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane, and is now awaiting his trial in May, as reported by the ABC.

Ms Collombet’s body was found in a riverside rotunda at Brisbane’s Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD on March 28 by an early morning jogger.

The Brisbane Timesreported that Ms Collombet had turned down an offer of a lift home from a classmate on the night of March 27, after her class at Griffiths University had ended around 8.20pm.

This case marks the fourth death involving an international student in Brisbane since last November.

Milward was arrested in Coffs Harbour in NSW, shortly after being spotted at a supermarket on April 7, according to a report by The Australian.

He was transported to the Brisbane court on April 8 and charged with murder, rape, deprivation of liberty, and armed robbery.

The man’s lawyer, Michael Bosscher, told the ABC outside the court that his client had not given any indication on how he would plead.

Mr Bosscher also told ABC the man’s family is anxious.

“They’re obviously distraught and distressed, not only because their son is in custody, but because they have a real and genuine empathy for the victim in this matter and her family,” he said.

The accused man has been remanded in custody.

Police suspect Milward had been using drugs on the day of Ms Collombet’s death. It is not clear if the culprit was still under the influence in the evening.

On April 10, a candlelight vigil was held and attended by more than 2,000 people and shared memory of Ms Collombet.

During the vigil, a letter from Ms Collombet’s parents in France was read.

“You could have merely learned foreign languages, but you wanted to live them – you wanted to travel,”

“But this life has already come to an end, we will always be with you, and we will never forget you.”