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Sophie Collombet murder: Benjamin Milward jailed for life for raping, killing French student in Brisbane.

Benjamin James Milward has been jailed for life for the rape and murder of French student Sophie Collombet, whose body was found in an inner-city Brisbane rotunda in 2014.

Milward, who pleaded guilty to the charges in Brisbane’s Supreme Court earlier this month, attacked the 21-year-old business student in South Brisbane on March 27, 2014.

Ms Collombet was on her way home after a night class at Griffith University.

Her naked and battered body was found the next morning in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park.

In the Supreme Court of Brisbane, Justice Ann Lyons sentenced 28-year-old Milward to 15 years for rape, to be served concurrently with the life sentence for murder.

“You attacked a defenceless woman, you showed her no respect,” Justice Lyons said.

“You treated her appallingly and then left her — you abandoned a severely injured woman.

“Your actions simply defy belief.”

Justice Lyons said Milward had a criminal history of violence and burglary offences, but no previous sexual offences.

The court heard Milward was on ice and living at a nearby homeless men’s shelter at the time.

Justice Lyons said his drinking and drug taking was no excuse for what he did.

Benjamin James Milward. Image via Facebook.

She said Ms Collombet was "a young woman with a life ahead of her, a life full of hopes and dreams".

"You ended all that — this young woman died at your hands, you have caused her death," she said.

"You allowed your sexual desires to overwhelm you, your actions were cowardly."

The court heard Ms Collombet survived for several hours after the brutal attack, with prosecutor Todd Fuller saying she had 128 external injuries, including skull fractures.

Ms Collombet's family travelled from France for today's sentencing and wept in court as victim impact statements were read out, detailing the loss they felt since her death.

Milward's defence lawyer said his client was sorry for what he had done and he had written a letter to Ms Collombet's family to express his remorse.

During today's hearing, Milward often slumped his head in the dock and was tearing up.

The court heard Milward could only remember some of his actions, but told police when arrested: "What I've done is just f*****g horrible".

Milward will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years.

In April 2014, more than 2,000 people gathered in Brisbane for a march and candlelight vigil in memory of Ms Collombet.

This post originally appeared on ABC News. 

 

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