Australian 'coward' gets life for French student murder
An Australian man was Wednesday sentenced to life behind bars for the rape and murder of a young French woman in Brisbane, with a judge blasting his "cowardly" actions.
Benjamin Milward pleaded guilty earlier this month to the charges, more than two years after the naked body of business student Sophie Collombet, 21, was found in a park near her apartment in the city's south in March 2014.
Police said she was beaten to death.
Milward, who was 25 when the murder was committed, was jailed for a minimum 20 years.
He was also given 15 years for rape to be served concurrently.
"You attacked a defenceless woman, you showed her no respect," the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Justice Ann Lyons of the Supreme Court of Queensland as saying.
"You treated her appallingly and then left her -- you abandoned a severely injured woman... Your actions simply defy belief."
At his committal hearing in 2015, the court heard Milward had smoked the drug ice -- crystal methamphetamine -- and drunk alcohol on the day of the killing, the ABC said.
Collombet was going home after a night class at Griffith University when she was subjected to the random and fatal attack.
Lyons said Milward had killed a "young woman with a life ahead of her, a life full of hopes and dream".
"You allowed your sexual desires to overwhelm you, your actions were cowardly."
Collombet's family, who travelled from France and were in court for the sentencing, reportedly cried as the impact statements about their struggles after her death were read out.
"We have lost sleep, the enjoyment of life and the desire to move forward... We are in a state of physical and moral exhaustion," said the impact statement, read in court by Collombet's brother Guillaume, the Brisbane Times reported.
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