Crowds gather for march and candlelight vigil to honour Sophie

11 Apr

More than 2,000 people have gathered in Brisbane for a march and candlelight vigil in memory of murdered French student Sophie Collombet.

The naked and battered body of Ms Collombet, a 21-year-old business student, was found in a riverside rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

A 25-year-old man has been charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, rape and armed robbery, and will face court again in May.

They were addressed by Niels Kraaier, the president of the Postgraduate Students Association at Griffith University, where Ms Collombet studied.

He recalled how Ms Collombet had “repeatedly burst into a roar of laughter” while watching The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert during a movie night.

“Well, that was in October,” he said.

“Six months later, and the laughter has gone.”

Mr Kraaier described Ms Collombet as “the personification of joie de vivre” – the joy of living.

“We all know the drill when it comes to personal safety … but something like this, you simply can’t prepare for,” he said.

“We owe it to Sophie to ensure that Brisbane is a city which is not only safe in the brochure, but in real life.”

Participants then travelled along Roma Street following a group of pipers over Kurilpa Bridge and eventually into Kurilpa Park, where the candlelight vigil was held.

At Kurilpa Park, a letter from Ms Collombet’s parents in France was read to the crowd.

“You could have merely learned foreign languages, but you wanted to live them – you wanted to travel,” it said.

“You knew how to make the most of each beautiful moment that made up your life.

“But this life has already come to an end … we will always be with you, and we will never forget you.”

A minute’s silence was held followed by a song, which was chosen by Ms Collombet’s parents.

Click here to read the full story

Click here to download a transcript of our President’s speech for Sophie

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