French student Sophie Collombet.
French student Sophie Collombet.

Man accused of murdering French student fronts court

THE Ipswich man accused of murdering French business student Sophie Louise Collombet deliberately cast his eyes away from the public gallery during a two-minute court appearance.

The 25-year-old, who cannot be named now because he is also charged with rape, did not even glance at his mother or aunt who attended Brisbane Magistrates Court for the brief mention.

Wearing a brown t-shirt and tracksuit pants issued from the watchhouse, his gaze was directed to the base of the prisoner's dock.

The gallery glimpsed his face as he stood up to face the formal charges.

The man, who is charged with depriving the 21-year-old girl of her liberty and armed robbery with actual violence, was remanded in custody to appear again on May 19.

Queensland police issued a public appeal for the man's whereabouts after he was allegedly spotted on security vision in South Brisbane's Kurilpa Park about the time Ms Collombet is believed to have died on March 27.

Her naked body was found in a rotunda at the park, near the William Jolly Bridge, early the next morning.

Lawyer Michael Bosscher said the man's family would not make any comments.

"They're obviously distraught and stressed, not only because their son is in custody, but they have a real and genuine empathy for the victim in this matter and her family," he said.

Mr Bosscher said he spent an hour with the man, who was extradited from Coffs Harbour on Monday, just before the mention in the Roma Street arrest court.

"He's distressed given the circumstances he finds himself in but otherwise in relatively good health and spirits," he said.

"I haven't delved down into the details of the instructions at this point other than to tell you he certainly understood our conversation this morning.

"He seems in relatively good spirits in all the circumstances but he's clearly anxious about court proceedings and his future.

"By that I mean he's able to have a conversation without breaking down in tears."

Mr Bosscher said it was too early to say whether his client would plead guilty to the charges he faced and he had no instructions yet on whether there would be a supreme court bail application.

A person charged with murder can only apply for bail in the higher jurisdiction.

When asked whether the man had expressed any remorse, Mr Bosscher said: "Anything he says to me stays with me".


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