Fa­ther chokes back tears in ap­peal to find gap year Grace

Daily Express - - News - By Frances Mil­lar

THE dis­traught fa­ther of miss­ing Bri­tish back­packer Grace Mil­lane yesterday pleaded for in­for­ma­tion that could help find his “fun-lov­ing” daugh­ter.

Po­lice have said they “hold grave con­cerns” for the Univer­sity of Lin­coln grad­u­ate who has not been seen since she was spot­ted en­ter­ing an apart­ment ho­tel in Auck­land, New Zealand, with a man seven days ago.

David Mil­lane, 60, speak­ing soon af­ter ar­riv­ing in the city, told re­porters that Grace’s fam­ily were “ex­tremely con­cerned” for her wel­fare.

Chok­ing back tears he said: “We are all ex­tremely up­set and it’s very dif­fi­cult at this time to fully de­scribe the range of emo­tions we are go­ing through.

“I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to ap­peal to any­body who has seen, spo­ken to, come into con­tact with Grace over the last few days and come for­ward with any de­tail, no mat­ter how small.”

Spot­ted

Grace turned 22 last Sun­day, the day af­ter she was last seen at the CityLife apart­ment ho­tel at 9.41pm.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Scott Beard, of Auck­land City Po­lice, said that they had spo­ken to the man she was spot­ted with and were con­duct­ing foren­sic tests in one of the apart­ments.

Grace did not re­turn to the Base Back­pack­ers hos­tel where she had been stay­ing and left all her be­long­ings in her room.

Her two mo­bile phones both go straight to an­swer phone.

The for­mer stu­dent, from Wick­ford, Es­sex, was on a year-long round-the-world trip and had pre­vi­ously been “bom­bard­ing” her fam­ily and friends with mes­sages and pic­tures from her ad­ven­ture.

They be­came con­cerned when she did not re­spond to birth­day greet­ings.

Mr Mil­lane told re­porters it was un­usual for his daugh­ter to be out of

con­tact. On the evening of her dis­ap­pear­ance she was filmed on CCTV smil­ing as she en­tered the Sky City en­ter­tain­ment com­plex at the base of Auck­land’s land­mark Sky Tower at 7:15pm wear­ing a black dress and white Con­verse train­ers.

Grace­was then seen two hours later at the four-star CityLife.

More than 25 po­lice staff are try­ing to find out her ac­tiv­i­ties be­tween

those two hours by trawl­ing through CCTV footage.

Her brother Michael said that the last per­son to speak to Grace was their mother last Thurs­day.

Her last Twit­ter post was at 6:54pm on De­cem­ber 1, the evening she went miss­ing.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Beard said: “It has now been six days since Grace was last seen. At this point, we hold grave fears for her safety.” Ear­lier this week, a po­ten­tial wit­ness told a lo­cal news­pa­per she saw a young woman re­sem­bling Ms Mil­lane stand­ing near the south­ern motorway in Manukau, about 14 miles from Auck­land.

The woman said: “Where she was stand­ing, it was re­ally bizarre and she was by her­self – no­body around – just a girl on her own.

“She was in a very un­usual place to stand.”

Mr Mil­lane de­scribed his daugh­ter as “a lovely, out­go­ing, fun-lov­ing, fam­ily-ori­en­tated daugh­ter”.

He added: “Grace has never been out of con­tact for this amount of time.

“She’s usu­ally in daily con­tact with ei­ther her mother, my­self, her two broth­ers or mem­bers of the fam­ily on so­cial me­dia.”

Grace ar­rived in New Zealand on Novem­ber 20, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been on a six-week group trip to South Amer­ica.

She saved for her hol­i­day by do­ing of­fice work at her fa­ther’s suc­cess­ful prop­erty de­vel­op­ment com­pany. She also made money sell­ing paint­ings via her web­site.

She had planned to go to Aus­tralia as her newt des­ti­na­tion.

Pic­tures: HANNAH PETERS / GETTY, AUCK­LAND PO­LICE

Grace in a selfie that she put on Face­book. Right, tear­ful fa­ther David speaks af­ter ar­riv­ing in Auck­land yesterday

Po­lice car out­side the CityLife apart­ment ho­tel

CCTV of Grace on the night she was last seen

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