A 25-year-old man will face court today charged with the rape and murder of French student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane.
The naked and battered body of the 21-year-old business student was found in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near Brisbane’s William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.
Benjamin James Milward arrived in Brisbane yesterday after being extradited from Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales mid-north coast.
He will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, rape and robbery.
Milwood was named as a person of interest last week after police released security camera vision showing him in the area where Ms Collombet’s body was found around the time she was killed.
A short time after the murder, he was caught on CCTV footage at the Bowen Hills train station.
Police said he looked “a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements”.
Milwood was arrested in Coffs Harbour on Monday afternoon. The ABC understands he was spotted in a supermarket before the arrest.
Milward’s mother visits place where student’s body was found
Ms Collombet is the fourth international student to be killed in Brisbane since last November.
The park where her body was found has become the focus of mourning in the city.
Milward’s mother, Diane, visited the park yesterday, and says she is standing by her son.
“Every day, however long it takes, whatever the outcome we’re going to be there,” she said.
“You just don’t think this could ever happen. It’s just, I’m still in denial I think; hoping for some glimmer of hope that it’s just a big mistake.”
Ms Milward also expressed sadness for the Collombet family.
“We’re all so sorry and sad and it shouldn’t happen to anybody. A beautiful girl like Sophie, she’s just gorgeous – it’s just wrong,” she said.
A makeshift vigil has sprung up at the park, with dozens of flowers and notes left in her memory.
“I did not know you Sophie,” reads one note. “But I had to be here just to show you how much I care.”
“Angel, I never knew you but I will never forget”, another note reads, while a bouquet of flowers was left with the message: “RIP beautiful girl. #SafestreetsforSophie.”
One note left at the rotunda, signed “from a Brisbane mother”, urges authorities to increase the amount of police on the streets.
Tomorrow night a vigil is due to be held where Ms Collombet’s body was found.