Man to be charged with mur­der of miss­ing Bri­tish back­packer

The Observer - - News - Eleanor Ainge Roy Dunedin

A 26-year-old man is to be charged with the mur­der of the miss­ing Bri­tish back­packer Grace Mil­lane, 22, who dis­ap­peared in New Zealand a week ago. Po­lice said the man would ap­pear at Auck­land dis­trict court to­mor­row morn­ing.

Yes­ter­day po­lice said they were treat­ing Mil­lane’s dis­ap­pear­ance as a mur­der in­quiry. “Grace is no longer alive; this is now a mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said DI Scott Beard of Auck­land city po­lice, cit­ing ev­i­dence that had been un­cov­ered dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing CCTV footage and scene ex­am­i­na­tions.

He said: “The fam­ily are dev­as­tated, every­body who is a par­ent out there will un­der­stand what this fam­ily is go­ing through. There is fam­ily back in the UK and our hearts go out to them as well.”

Beard added: “We still do not know where Grace is. We are de­ter­mined to find her and re­turn her to her fam­ily.”

Mil­lane, from Wick­ford in Es­sex, was on a year-long around-the­world trip af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of Lin­coln with a de­gree in ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing when she went miss­ing in Auck­land a week ago. She had ar­rived in New Zealand on 20 Novem­ber, fol­low­ing a six-week trip to South Amer­ica.

Her fa­ther, David Mil­lane was met at the air­port by New Zealand po­lice af­ter re­port­ing his daugh­ter miss­ing on Wed­nes­day. He is­sued an emo­tional plea for help, weep­ing as he asked the pub­lic to come for­ward with any in­for­ma­tion re­lat­ing to his miss­ing child.

He added that Grace was rarely out of con­tact with her fam­ily and had “bom­barded” them with pic­tures from the New Zealand leg of her trav­els, be­fore fall­ing silent on the day of her dis­ap­pear­ance.

“We are all ex­tremely upset and it’s very dif­fi­cult at this time to fully de­scribe the range of emo­tions we are go­ing through,” he said. “Grace is a lovely, out­go­ing, fun-lov­ing, fam­i­ly­ori­en­tated daugh­ter.”

Grace Mil­lane had re­cently grad­u­ated be­fore go­ing on an around-the­world trip.

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