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Friday, December 2, 2022

Man to appear in court charged with murder of British backpacker Grace Millane


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A man is due to appear in court on Monday to be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane.

Millane, 22, an advertising graduate and artist, from Essex in the United Kingdom, had been on her OE in New Zealand just shy of a fortnight when she was last seen in central Auckland on December 1.

The circumstances surrounding her disappearance and death are not yet clear.

The last confirmed sighting of her was at the CityLife Hotel, in Queen St, at 9.41pm on the evening before her 22nd birthday, with the 26-year-old man now being held on suspicion of her murder.

On Sunday afternoon, police scoured a bush area along Scenic Dr in the Waitakere Ranges, where they found a body believed to be Millane’s.

Man to appear in court charged with murder of British backpacker Grace Millane
Grace Millane’s current profile picture on Facebook was uploaded on November 29 – two days before she disappeared.

Formal identification has not yet taken place but Detective Inspector Scott Beard, who is leading the investigation, said officers were certain it was Millane and the search for her had come to an end.

Back home in Essex, church services were to be held to remember Millane.

Father John Corbyn, of Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Wickford, where the Millane family lives said she was well known in the community.

“Many of our young people went to school with her. She went to Catholic school, and so did they, so they know her.

“We were praying for her while she was missing, and then of course … the sad realisation that she wasn’t missing any longer, as it were.”

He said the mood at the church was “rather sombre and sad”, adding: “I didn’t know her personally but many of the people here do. They’re shocked and saddened by what’s happened.”

Masses in Millane’s memory were planned for Sunday morning (UK time) where churchgoers would be “praying for her and her family”.

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

The advertising graduate and keen artist arrived in New Zealand on November 20, after travelling through South America.

This was her first time travelling abroad alone.

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