Grace’s miss­ing 2hrs

Mys­tery of ho­tel rendezvous as her fa­ther makes tear­ful ap­peal

Daily Mail - - Countdown To Brexit D-day - From Richard Shears in Auck­land

THE hunt for a miss­ing Bri­tish back­packer cen­tres on a cru­cial two- hour win­dow be­fore she van­ished, po­lice have re­vealed.

Grace Mil­lane held a rendezvous with a man at a ho­tel in Auck­land, New Zealand be­fore all con­tact with her was lost, it emerged yes­ter­day.

De­tec­tives are now try­ing to re­trace her steps in the time lead­ing up to the mys­tery meeting – and ad­mit there are ‘grave fears’ for her safety.

The de­vel­op­ments came as the 22year-old grad­u­ate’s mil­lion­aire fa­ther ar­rived in Auck­land to make an emo­tional ap­peal for the re­turn of his beloved daugh­ter. Prop­erty de­vel­oper David Mil­lane, 60, strug­gled to con­tain tears as he said rel­a­tives were ‘ex­tremely con­cerned for her wel­fare’.

‘Grace is a lovely, out­go­ing, fun-lov­ing, fam­ily- ori­en­tated daugh­ter,’ he said. ‘[She] has never been out of con­tact for this amount of time and is usu­ally in daily con­tact with ei­ther her mother, my­self or her two brothers.’

Mr Mil­lane, from Wick­ford, near Basil­don, Es­sex, added: ‘We are all ex­tremely upset and it is very dif­fi­cult at this time to fully de­scribe the range of emo­tions we are all go­ing through.’

He ap­pealed to any­one who has seen or come into con­tact with Miss Mil­lane over the last few days to come for­ward. The Univer­sity of Lin­coln grad­u­ate had started a year-long round-the-world trip in South Amer­ica in Oc­to­ber be­fore mov­ing on to New Zealand alone.

She usu­ally ‘bom­barded’ her fam­ily with pho­tos and mes­sages of her ad­ven­tures and her si­lence was ex­tremely out of char­ac­ter, her fa­ther said.

The back­packer, who was stay­ing at a ‘party hos­tel’ in Auck­land, turned 22 on Sun­day but did not re­spond to birth­day greet­ings from friends and fam­ily. Her last known sight­ing was at 9.41pm a week ago, when she walked into the CityLife ho­tel in Auck­land with a man.

Ear­lier she was seen on CCTV with a group of peo­ple at about 7.15pm near the city cen­tre’s land­mark Sky City tower. But po­lice say they do not know where Miss Mil­lane was be­tween those two key sight­ings.

The man seen en­ter­ing the CityLife ho­tel with Miss Mil­lane has since been traced by po­lice and in­ter­viewed. De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Scott Beard, who is lead­ing the in­quiry, said he is be­ing treated as a ‘per­son of in­ter­est but is not an of­fi­cial sus­pect’. Of­fi­cers will con­tinue to search the room where the man was stay­ing while de­tec­tives will in­ter­view him again and sift through more hours of se­cu­rity cam­era footage.

‘We know she was last seen at 9.41pm go­ing into CityLife and we still don’t know if she came out,’ Mr Beard said. He added that there is still no ev­i­dence of foul play and it re­mained a miss­ing per­sons in­quiry.

Two po­lice cars re­mained parked out­side the ho­tel last night while a po­lice he­li­copter hov­ered over the build­ing. ‘I un­der­stand there will be lots of ques­tions about what we are do­ing at the CityLife and why ex­actly we are there,’ said Mr Beard.

‘How­ever, this is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion and I am not able to dis­cuss this as­pect fur­ther at this point.’

He re­vealed that Grace was in pos­ses­sion of two mo­bile phones – one English and one from New Zealand – and ad­mit­ted ‘there could be more’.

‘Usu­ally in daily con­tact’

Van­ished: Grace Mil­lane was last seen a week ago

An­guish: David Mil­lane yes­ter­day

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