THE Ipswich man sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering and raping French student Sophie Collombet told police he was "a bit of a sex addict".

"What I've done is just f***ing horrible. I didn't intend for nothing to happen," he told them once he was caught in Coffs Harbour.

French student Sophie Collombet.
French student Sophie Collombet.

Benjamin James Milward, 28, was sentenced in Brisbane Supreme Court today after pleading guilty to the murder and rape on March 27, 2014.

He must serve 20 years before he can apply for parole. He has already served 934 days behind bars.

Justice Ann Lyons said this should serve as a warning to other drug users, especially those addicted to ice.

"Addiction to ice is immediate, the results are always catastrophic," she said.

"It's a just a question of the magnitude of the catastrophe."
 

CCTV footage of Sophie Collombet.
CCTV footage of Sophie Collombet.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller told the court such an horrific crime struck "at the very heart of the community" and affected people's behaviour in public spaces.

"It involved cowardly, brazen and predatory behaviour … purely for his own sexual gratification," he said.

"The last moments of Ms Collombet's life were no doubt filled with terror as she was unable to resist this man's assault on her.

"A degree of force was used to overpower her. All this was aimed at achieving an intention to satiate his sexual urge.

"Forensic evidence shows he achieved that purpose."

Mr Fuller said Milward had callous disregard for Ms Collombet's body, noting she survived for some hours after the attack.

He said she was left naked near a gazebo, covered in newspapers and a jacket.

Mr Fuller said Ms Collombet died from significant head injuries, including skull fractures and haemorrhaging, sustained during the rape.

"So sorry," Milward said as he was led from the courtroom. 

 

Sophie Collombet's family and boyfriend in front of court after Benjamin James Milward, 28, was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.
Sophie Collombet's family and boyfriend in front of court after Benjamin James Milward, 28, was sentenced to life in prison for her murder. Rae Wilson

 

Sophie Collombet murder: Ipswich man faces sentencing

AN Ipswich man will today be sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering and raping French university student Sophie Collombet, dumping her body by the banks of the Brisbane River.

Benjamin James Milward, 28, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court two weeks ago to murder and rape on March 27, 2014.

He was due to face a trial this week until he entered the plea.

Life imprisonment is the only sentence he can receive but the prosecution can ask for higher non-parole period, beyond the mandatory 20 years.

Justice Ann Lyons will ultimately make that call.

Ms Collombet's family has travelled from France for the sentencing.

Ms Collombet's brother will read out a victim impact statement in French. Someone will then read it out in English.
 

Milward injected ice on the day he killed the student.

Later that night, a passer-by found the young woman's naked body on a bench under a rotunda.

Her face and body were bruised and bloodied, her skull fractured.

She had been raped and her possessions were gone.

Ms Collombet, 21, was on her way home after a university class the previous night when she was attacked in a South Brisbane park.

She had been living in the city while studying business at Griffith University.

Milward was captured on CCTV near the scene.

The murder sparked a large-scale manhunt and it would be days before police caught him near Coffs Harbour in New South Wales and had him extradited back to Queensland.

Ms Collomet's murder sparked community outrage and anger with thousands of people gathering in King George Square the week following her death to hold a candlelit vigil in memory of the slain student.

- ARM NEWSDESK



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