A man has pleaded guilty to the rape and murder of Sophie Collombet, a French student whose body was recovered in an inner city in 2014.
According to reports, alleged assailant Benjamin James Milward attacked Collombet in South Brisbane at Kurilpa Park while she was walking home from Griffith University. The incident occurred on March 27, 2014. The victim’s body was recovered naked and battered in a rotunda, located close to the William Jolly Bridge and the CBD. This prompted a major police investigation into the matter, with 60 officers assigned the duty to find out the details.
Twenty-six-year-old Milward pleaded guilty, with one count of rape and one count of murder, in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday. Justice Ann Lyons ended the matter by declaring the next date of hearing for sentencing on October 26. The 21-year-old victim’s brother was present during the court hearing where the suspected pleaded guilty.
In an earlier hearing, according to The Brisbane Times, the two witnesses told the court that Milward was under the influence of a high amount of alcohol and drugs when he attacked her.
At a committal hearing in 2015, the court heard that the suspect was drunk and also consumed the drug ice not only on the day of the killing but also on the day before. The forensic report, on the other hand, revealed that DNA matching the guilty was found under Collombet’s fingernails that strengthened the evidence against Milward.
He used to live in a homeless men’s shelter. In July 2015, the guilty was also committed to stand trial on other charges, including robbery, deprivation of liberty, etc. Collombet’s brother said that the rest of the family members would reach Australia from France for Milward’s sentencing.
In April 2014, around 2,000 people across Brisbane gathered for a march and candlelight tribute in memory of Sophie Collombet.