Father chokes back tears in appeal to find gap year Grace
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.”
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.
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