26-year-old to be charged with murder of British backpacker as missing person case turns to tragedy. By HannahMartin and Laine Moger.
A 26-year-old man will be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane.
The 22-year-old, from Essex, was last seen in central Auckland on December 1 and had been reported missing on Wednesday.
Then yesterday, the case took a tragic turnwhen police held a press conference at 5pm to say they were treating Millane’s disappearance as a homicide and aman, who had been located at an Auckland address, was helpingwith enquiries. Four hours later they issued a statement to say theywere ready to bring charges.
‘‘The 26-year-old who has been speaking with Police in relation to the disappearance of Grace Millane will be charged with her murder,’’ police said. ‘‘He will remain in Police custody until Monday morning when he will appear in the Auckland District Court.’’
At yesterday’s press conference, Detective Inspector Scott Beard said the case had been particularly tough. He’d been keeping Millane’s father David updated since his arrival on Friday.
‘‘Of course it’s tough, everyone who is a parent out there will understand and appreciate what that family is going through,’’ Beard said.
‘‘We’ve spoken to David. We’ve met him, but there is family in the UK and our hearts go out to them as well.
‘‘I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace’s family tonight and I want to reassure everyone both here and abroad, that NZ Police are determined to do everything we can to find Grace.’’
Beard said that although they hadn’t yet found a body, officers had gathered evidence yesterday that had ‘‘established this is a homicide’’ and that Millane’s family – which has requested privacy to deal with the tragedy – were ‘‘devastated’’ at the news.
‘‘We still do not know where Grace is. We are determined to find her and return her to her family,’’ Beard said.
Police had identified and found a vehicle of interest and