Backpacker's disappearance being treated as suspected murder

Erika Holt
December 8, 2018

The disappearance of British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand is being treated as a suspected murder, police said.

The 22-year-old from Essex hasn't been seen since she entered downtown Auckland's CityLife Hotel in the company of a 26-year-old man last Saturday evening.

Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said: "Detectives have assessed Grace's belongings that were found at the backpackers where she was staying".

'Sadly the evidence we have gathered to this point of the inquiry has established that this is a homicide.

He will remain in police custody until Monday morning when he will appear in Auckland District Court.

Millane was on a year-long OE after graduating from the University of Lincoln in September.

David Millane, the father of missing backpacker Grace Millane, says his daughter has "never been out of contact for this amount of time".

"There is family back in the United Kingdom and our hearts go out to them as well".

David Millane, father of missing British tourist Grace Millane, speaks to the media as police give updates on the investigation.

Tonight's statement said the Millane family have requested privacy at this time and will not be making any further statements at this stage.

He said: 'Just after 3pm this afternoon (Saturday) a 26-year-old man was located at a central Auckland address by police.

Police said they are still looking for Ms Millane, 22, who was last seen in the city on December 1, although evidence suggested she had been killed. "Her clothing's going to be somewhere, we haven't found it, and somebody may find it".

She had booked to stay at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland until 8 December.

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A 26-year-old man is being held in connection with her murder and a vehicle of interest has been found.

Det Insp Beard confirmed that the man being questioned by police on Saturday was the same individual.

Meanwhile, the scene examination at the Citylife hotel is continuing as detectives review hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

Police had "no reason or understanding what the motive was", he said.

A CCTV image shows she was at Sky City, a hotel a short distance away, at 7.15pm on the same night - but her whereabouts between those two sightings is unknown.

Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, the detective said: "I'm not going to speculate on how they met".

Police want the public to help find this necklace belonging to backpacker Grace Millane.

Police believe Millane may have the items with her.

They had received "a lot" of phone calls from the public and those were being "worked through and prioritised".

"Grace's family have been advised of this development and they are devastated."
"Our thoughts are with her family at this very bad time".

Detective Beard said Millane's case has been tough, at the press conference.

Speaking at a news conference in Auckland on Friday, Grace's father, David Millane, said his daughter had been "bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures" before she went missing.

After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been near-daily contact with her family until December 1 - the day before her 22nd birthday.

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