COPS PROBE CAR ON TRAGIC GRACE

Hunt for mur­dered back­packer’s body

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAN WARBURTON

A CAR has been seized by po­lice prob­ing the New Zealand mur­der of Bri­tish back­packer Grace Mil­lane.

De­tec­tives are search­ing for the body of the 22-year-old grad­u­ate who went miss­ing in Auck­land last week.

The main clue was said to be a “ve­hi­cle of in­ter­est” seized by of­fi­cers, though no fur­ther de­tails were given.

Po­lice were try­ing to trace the ve­hi­cle’s movements since Grace went miss­ing last Satur­day night, when she was last seen on CCTV en­ter­ing the CityLife Ho­tel with a man.

A team of 20 po­lice are scour­ing footage for ev­i­dence that she left the ho­tel, but so far none has been found.

A man of 26 held in the probe was due to be charged and re­mains in cus­tody pend­ing a court ap­pear­ance to­mor­row.

De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Scott

Beard, lead­ing the probe, said: “Sadly the ev­i­dence we’ve

Grace ar­rives in Auck­land and checks into the Base Back­pack­ers hos­tel.

She makes her last con­tact with her fam­ily. CCTV films gath­ered to this point has es­tab­lished this is a homi­cide. Grace’s fam­ily has been ad­vised of this and they are dev­as­tated. The man is still be­ing spo­ken to.”

He said po­lice had “no rea­son or un­der­stand­ing what the mo­tive was”.

Vow­ing to find her body so her fam­ily could bring her home, he added: “Grace is still miss­ing. We want to find her.”

Her pass­port and some other

her leav­ing Andy’s Burg­ers and Bar, SkyCity at 7.15pm. At 9.41pm she en­ters CityLife with a man.

Grace’s fam­ily be­come con­cerned as she fails to re­spond to birth­day mes­sages.

A miss­ing per­sons re­port is filed with po­lice.

Po­lice ap­peal for sight­ings. be­long­ings were miss­ing from the £10-anight Base Back­pack­ers hos­tel where she was stay­ing, near the £130-a-night CityLife apart­ment com­plex. Po­lice be­lieved the items were with Grace.

On the day she van­ished she told pals at the hos­tel: “I’m go­ing to see a friend.” She mes­saged oth­ers say­ing she was meeting a man, her fam­ily said.

Po­lice would not con­firm re­ports claim­ing she had made a date on Tin­der.

Of­fi­cers have iden­ti­fied an apart­ment Dad David ar­rives in New Zealand and ap­peals for in­for­ma­tion. Det Insp Scott Beard says po­lice have “grave fears” for Grace. He will not say if she knew the of in­ter­est at the ho­tel and foren­sic ex­perts were be­lieved to have found vi­tal CCTV footage and foren­sic ev­i­dence.

Po­lice re­leased pho­tos of Grace’s neck­lace and watch, urg­ing any­one who recog­nised them to come for­ward.

She had been seen on CCTV dressed for a night out as she left a bar in the Sky City casino com­plex at 7.15pm. She was wear­ing a pink wrist­band, sug­gest­ing she planned to re­turn to the casino, just a few min­utes from the ho­tel.

Her dad, prop­erty de­vel­oper David, 60, flew to New Zealand where he made an emo­tional ap­peal for help.

Mum Gil­lian was un­able to travel as she is re­cov­er­ing from an op­er­a­tion.

Grace had ar­rived in New Zealand on Novem­ber 20 as part of a year-long world­wide trip af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of Lin­coln in Septem­ber.

Last night her brother De­clan tweeted a photo of her at her grad­u­a­tion, with the words: “I love you.”

This is a homi­cide. We have no rea­son or un­der­stand­ing what the mo­tive was

DET INSP BEARD ON THE PROBE OVER BACK­PACKER GRACE

man she was seen with, but po­lice had spo­ken to him and “still have no ev­i­dence of foul play”. Po­lice search an apart­ment at the ho­tel.

Po­lice ap­peal for Grace’s miss­ing pass­port, pink Ca­sio Baby-G watch and sil­ver green­stone neck­lace. A man of 26 is taken into cus­tody and po­lice find “ve­hi­cle of in­ter­est”. It is now a mur­der hunt.

EMO­TIONAL Dad in Auck­land SEARCH CityLife com­plex VAN­ISHED Grace went miss­ing in New Zealand on gap year trip

Fri­day, Novem­ber 30

Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7

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