French student Sophie Collombet.
French student Sophie Collombet.

Sophie Collombet murder and rape: Guilty plea

AN Ipswich man has admitted he murdered and raped French university student Sophie Collombet, dumping her body by the banks of the Brisbane River.

Benjamin James Milward, who turns 28 in two days, pleaded guilty in Brisbane Supreme Court this morning to murder and rape on March 27, 2014.

He was due to face a trial in less than two weeks, in the week of October 24.

Life imprisonment is the only sentence he can receive when he is sentenced on October 26.

Milward injected ice on the day he killed the student, an earlier court had heard.

Later that night, a passer-by found the young woman's naked body on a bench under a rotunda early on the morning of March 28.

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 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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