Sophie Collombet murder: Benjamin Milward charged with rape and murder

Benjamin James Milward arrived in Brisbane tonight after an extradition order was approved in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on the NSW mid-north coast.

Shortly after arriving at the watch house, he was formally charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, rape and robbery.
Milward was arrested in the NSW town yesterday afternoon and spent the morning being questioned by Queensland detectives.


UPDATED tonight 7.30pm 08/04/14

Benjamin James Milward arrives at the police Watch House in Brisbane, Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Benjamin James Milward arrives at the police Watch House in Brisbane, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A 25-year-old man has been 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 tonight after an extradition order was approved in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on the NSW mid-north coast.

Shortly after arriving at the watch house, he was formally charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, rape and robbery.

  Milward was arrested in the NSW town yesterday afternoon and spent the morning being questioned by Queensland detectives.

He 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.

Milward will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says he has been updating the Collombet family on the progress of the case.

Commissioner Stewart says he spoke to Ms Collombet’s father.

“I spent some time on the phone with him. He was very dignified and very grateful for the information, and obviously we’re keeping him up to date,” he said.

“We have a family liaison officer in the investigation team, and their job is to keep the family and friends aware of any progress in the investigation.”

Milward’s mother visits place where student’s body was found

The park where Ms Collombet’s body was found has become the focus of mourning in Brisbane.

Milward’s mother, Diane, today visited the park, 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.

Diane Milward (left), mother of Benjamin James Milward, visits a memorial to murdered Sophie Collombet in south Brisbane on April 8, 2014.
Diane Milward (left), mother of Benjamin James Milward, visits a memorial to murdered Sophie Collombet in south Brisbane on April 8, 2014.

 

“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.

On Thursday night a vigil is due to be held where Ms Collombet’s body was found.


Benjamin Milward arrested in Coffs Harbour
Benjamin Milward arrested in Coffs Harbour

A man wanted for questioning over the Brisbane murder of French student Sophie Collombet has been arrested in the New South Wales town of Coffs Harbour.

Police last week named Benjamin Milward as a person of interest in the 21-year-old’s murder.

Ms Collombet’s naked body was found in a rotunda at the Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Mr Milward, 25, was spotted on security vision near Kurilpa Park about the time of the killing.

He was later caught on CCTV footage at the Bowen Hills train station a short time after the business student’s murder.

Police said he looked “a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements”.

Meanwhile, the park where Ms Collombet’s body was found has become the focus of mourning in Brisbane with floral tributes and messages laid at the scene.

French business student Sophie Collombet.
Ms Collombet’s naked body was found in a rotunda at the Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.
Today, the place where her body was found is a makeshift vigil 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.

Sophie Collombet murder: Police issue nationwide alert in search for ‘person of interest’

Benjamin Milward

Brisbane police investigating the murder of Sophie Collombet have issued an Australia-wide alert as they search for person of interest Benjamin Milward.

The naked body of the French student was found in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

The 21-year-old, who was studying business at Griffith University, was found with extensive head injuries believed to have been inflicted by a weapon.

Police have named Mr Milward as a person of interest after he was spotted on security vision near the riverside park about the time of Ms Collombet’s murder.

Other CCTV footage showed him getting off a train in the inner-city suburb of Bowen Hills later that evening.

“The last sighting of this person for our point of view or that we can establish is… about 11:35pm last Thursday,” Detective Inspector Rod Kemp said.

Benjamin Milward
Benjamin Milward has been captured on CCTV at Bowen Hills train station.

“It’s been a week since we’ve had any formal identification or contact with this person.”

The Ipswich family of Mr Milward say they have not heard from him and have joined police in urging the 25-year-old to make contact with authorities.

“We’re on the same page as police … we’re waiting for Ben to turn up,” relative Tere Douglas said.

The net has been cast further afield with police conceding that Mr Milward could be anywhere.

“Whether he’s taken flight or not, we don’t know,” Inspector Kemp said.

Police spent yesterday doorknocking businesses in Bowen Hills, hoping to gather more security vision which may capture Mr Milward’s movements after he left the train station.

“By his actions here, he does look a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements,” Inspector Kemp said.

Mr Milward is described as 180 centimetres tall with blond hair and a dragon tattoo on the left side of his chest.

 

Police say he should not be approached but are asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

Ms Collombet was the fourth international student killed in Brisbane since November.

Last month, 27-year-old Singaporean student Meenatchi Narayanan was found stabbed to death in a hotel room at the Travelodge at Upper Mount Gravatt.

Two South Korean students were killed in separate incidents late last year.

In November, the body of 22-year-old South Korean student Eunji Ban was discovered in parklands in Brisbane’s CBD.

Less than a month later, police found the body of Min Tae Kim, also from South Korea, in a shallow grave on a property at Algester in Brisbane’s south-west.

Sophie Collombet murder: Griffith University community ‘incredibly saddened’ by French student’s death

Updated Thu 3 Apr 2014, 7:36am AEDT

Griffith University says students and staff are deeply saddened by the murder of French business student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane.

The naked body of the 21-year-old was found by a passer-by in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park near the William Jolly Bridge last Friday morning.

Her body was formally identified yesterday, and police said she suffered extensive head injuries in what they described as a “brutal” attack.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says officers are following a number of leads, but still need more information.

“This is a tragic occurrence – a young lady is dead, and our job is to solve it to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

“We can’t do that without the help of the public so we’re still asking if you were in that area, or if you knew that young lady, please – any small piece of information might be a key to the investigation.”

Mr Stewart says Brisbane is generally a safe place, but students must always be on alert and stay away from dark parks and unlit areas.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey says officers are making the case a priority.

“We are urgently making sure this matter is resolved – that all the police resources are going into that investigation,” he said.

“But I’d also like to stress Brisbane is a safe city, and Queensland is a safe state.”

Campus community ‘shocked’

Griffith University pro-vice chancellor Sarah Todd says the campus community is shocked at the loss of one of its own.

“Obviously we’re incredibly saddened – we only found out yesterday that it was one of our students,” she said.

“The loss of Sophie has affected staff, it’s affected students, it’s affected people who knew her closely, but also other students who identify just very strongly about a young woman, their age, doing the same thing as them.”

The loss of Sophie has affected staff, it’s affected students, it’s affected people who knew her closely, but also other students who identify just very strongly about a young woman, their age, doing the same thing as them.

Griffith University pro-vice chancellor Sarah Todd

Professor Todd says she addressed students this morning and the university will be offering counselling support.

“Any death is a tragedy – a student and a young person who’s got so much to give – it’s an incredible tragedy,” she said.

She says Ms Collombet was a Masters student, so her class was a “close-knit group” of about 30 students.

“We will be sending counselling staff and international student advisers to Sophie’s class that’s due to take place tomorrow evening,” she said.

Ms Collombet is the fourth foreign student killed in Brisbane since late last year.

Sophie Collombet is the fourth international student found killed in Brisbane since November. Read more about Min Tae Kim, Meenatchi Narayanan and Eunji Ban.

But Professor Todd says international students should still feel safe in Brisbane.

“Obviously this is of huge concern to all of us,” she said.

“The only positive thing is none of the deaths are related in any way at all, so they’re not students of particular race – there’s nothing to say that any of the deaths occurred because they were students.

“There’s no more reason for them to be concerned now than there would’ve been.

“All young people should always be careful of where they’re walking and what they’re doing and I think that’s a message we need to get out.

“They seem to be very much random deaths and we don’t have all of the details of Sophie’s death yet, but there’s nothing at this stage to suggest she was targeted … for not being Australian.”

Last month, Singaporean student Meenatchi Narayanan, 27, was found stabbed to death in a hotel room at the Travelodge at Upper Mount Gravatt on Brisbane’s south side.

Police have charged a 31-year-old man with her murder.

In November, the body of 22-year-old South Korean student Eunji Ban was discovered in parklands in Brisbane’s CBD.

Ms Ban had been in Australia on a youth exchange for just six weeks before her death.

She was walking to work as a hotel cleaner in the Brisbane CBD when she was attacked early on a Sunday morning.

19-year-old man was charged over her murder.

Less than a month later, police found the body of another South Korean student in a shallow grave on a property at Algester, in Brisbane’s south-west.

Min Tae Kim, 28, was in Australia on a working holiday, and was last seen in December last year at his home at Cannon Hill in Brisbane’s south-east.

His flatmate told police Mr Kim had arranged to exchange $15,000 for Korean currency with someone he met online on the afternoon he disappeared.

Brisbane city is safe, says Newman

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he is “troubled” by the killing but insists the city is safe.

“I believe it’s safe not only for students but safe for Brisbane residents,” he said.

“I’m obviously very sad and troubled by this latest case and I hope the police can catch someone as soon as possible.”

I’m obviously very sad and troubled by this latest case and I hope the police can catch someone as soon as possible.

Premier Campbell Newman

 

Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey says she does not expect the murder will affect international visitor numbers to the state, despite the murders of the four foreign students.

Ms Stuckey says her heart goes out to the woman’s family.

“But I have to say that Brisbane and Queensland and my beloved Gold Coast are still some of the safest places to work and holiday,” she said.

“That is further enhanced by our strong focus on tough law and order measures that have been brought in by the Government.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) spokesman Daniel Gschwind also says the murder is unlikely to deter overseas visitors from visiting Brisbane.

Mr Gschwind says Queensland is still considered a safe destination.

“I think there’s a difference between random acts of mindless violence like apparently this has been, and the other cases we’ve had,” he said.

“When we’re talking about random acts of violence, it’s not necessary to go out with messaging – we have to give our customers around the world a bit more credit.

“We all witness and hear of these incidences around the world and we put it in context and we understand whether there’s something systemic going on or not. There’s really nothing systemic going on here.

“But there is a human tragedy and we have to show compassion and react as a concerned community should.”

 

 

 

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Author: Robbo

I also love family, Photography, Cooking a great BBQ , Computers, Reading Crime Books, and solving crimes before the end of the show !

8 thoughts on “Sophie Collombet murder: Benjamin Milward charged with rape and murder”

  1. Great to see him charged basically as soon as he arrived in the jurisdiction. Awful crime and awful violent injuries to a young woman in Australia trying to get a good education for her future. Great work by the cops and social media/public reaction enabling him to be caught so soon. DNA has this bastard knee deep in trouble.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s so unfortunate that sometimes students from overseas can be an easy target especially if they are not street wise and savvy enough to know the dangers that lurk among us here in Australia there are some extremely evil opportunists just waiting to pounce on anyone that’s gullible and these predators have no remorse for what they do to a human life it means absolutely nothing to them what sort of monsters breed these evil pathetic shit kickers I think if there is ever one ounce of opportunity for the police to shoot these bastards dead when they find them it would be a bonus it saves so much stuffing around with these ridiculous drawn out court cases they can go on for frigin years shoot the morons dead there’s no room in the prisons that’s why they are letting out dangerous sex predators and murderers that shouldn’t be let out because they are juggling for room the dickheads what a joke the judicial and prison system is here.

    Like

  3. Jan Stuckey the tourism minister put her 5 cents in of course she has to try and uphold Queenslands reputation as a wonderful place to visit but please remember when you are here don’t lose sight of your loved ones for a second the place is loaded with murderers and sex offenders. Oh how thoughtful of Mrs Milward to stand by her son lol maybe deep down she’s releived that he’s going to prison it’s certainly a big load off her responsibility not that she had any she failed big time in bringing this misfit up the poor useless bitch.

    Like

  4. Sex offenders and violent criminals should be hung or shot after 10 years in gaol. The 10 years in gaol is only a safegaurd, just incase new evidence arises and prooves the convicted person to be innocent.
    Too many repeat offenders in both those classes of criminal to be deemed trustworthy ever again.

    Like

  5. Speaking of DNA Getting a rotten lying ice drug f*****KED mongrel dog lowlife in the shit, Harley Hicks from Bendigo Victoria -, found Guilty by the jury and now hopefully will be locked away in Jail for a very….very…. long time!……. yet to be sentenced by his judge…. Check out the Bendigo Advertiser newspaper photos and reports from the website on his long trial , and how his defence criminal lawyer nearly got him off on a technicality , but thanks to DNA, and this lying scumbag and good police detective work, which proved beyond a reasonable doubt ,how this evil cold blooded murdering piece of shit, with a homemade copper wire baton bludgeoned and bashed a helpless innocent baby child to death in his cot, while robbing the babies parents house…….Plenty of disturbing reading to up-load on his trial and mugshots of this young cold blooded murdering maggot, for the Aussie Criminals community….. Cheers Robbo………………………………………………………………………………Let us all hope he does hard jail time!……………..www. Bendigo advertiser. com.au…. Harley Hicks found guilty.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wonder why his mother needed to make it known she was visiting the crime site ? A vicarious form of a show of remorse for her son when he faces the music ? If she was doing it sincerely I doubt she would have made it known to the nexus knowing it would be all over the press etc . A quiet and private sorry with the bunch if flowers would have done

    Like

  7. True about Diane Milward she should keep a low profile because nobody gives rats about what she’s got to say she gave birth to a misfit murdering bastard.

    Liked by 1 person

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