Will clues in car help to nail Grace’s mur­derer?

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - From Stephen d’An­tal IN AUCK­LAND and Ben Ellery

PO­LICE in New Zealand search­ing for miss­ing back­packer Grace Mil­lane are fo­cus­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tion on a car be­lieved to be linked to a man sus­pected of her mur­der.

While de­tec­tives in Auck­land are yet to find the body of the 22-year-old Bri­ton, they have told her fam­ily she is dead and will to­mor­row charge a 26-year-old man with killing her.

The news came af­ter of­fi­cers pored over CCTV footage from the CityLife ho­tel where Grace was seen with a man on De­cem­ber 1, and foren­sic teams scoured a room there.

It is thought the cou­ple met on the dat­ing app Tin­der.

Po­lice have also found a ve­hi­cle which a for­mer se­nior New Zealand de­tec­tive be­lieves may have been used to move Grace’s body and which of­fi­cers will comb for ev­i­dence.

‘Po­lice will be try­ing very hard to see where that ve­hi­cle has been,’ said for­mer De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Gra­ham Bell. ‘I would say that is a key el­e­ment of the whole thing. They don’t know where the body is so you need a ve­hi­cle to trans­port the body.’

The an­nounce­ment that the hunt for Grace had be­come a mur­der in­quiry came as a shat­ter­ing blow to her fam­ily in Bil­ler­icay, Es­sex.

Her fa­ther, David Mil­lane, 60, a mil­lion­aire prop­erty de­vel­oper, ar­rived in New Zealand on Fri­day and gave a tear­ful press con­fer­ence plead­ing for in­for­ma­tion to help find his miss­ing daugh­ter.

Grace be­gan her year-long roundthe-world trip in Peru in Oc­to­ber be­fore ar­riv­ing in New Zealand alone on Novem­ber 20. The Univer­sity of Lin­coln grad­u­ate had been stay­ing at a ‘party hos­tel’ in Auck­land and was caught on CCTV with a group of peo­ple at about 7.15pm near the land­mark Sky City tower. She was later seen walk­ing into the CityLife ho­tel with a man at 9.41pm. Grace cel­e­brated her birth­day last Sun­day. Her fam­ily grew con­cerned for her safety when she failed to re­spond to mes­sages from friends and rel­a­tives.

At a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, De­tec­tive In­spec­tor Scott Beard said: ‘Sadly the ev­i­dence we have gath­ered to this point of the in­quiry has es­tab­lished that this is a homi­cide.’

Po­lice re­leased pho­to­graphs of a neck­lace and pink Ca­sio Baby-G watch sim­i­lar to those thought to have been worn by Grace when she van­ished. Her pass­port is also miss­ing.

Yes­ter­day her friend Saman­tha Jane Ram­say posted a pho­to­graph on Face­book of Grace with the cap­tion: ‘My whole heart.’

MISS­ING: Grace and, left, a pink Ca­sio watch sim­i­lar to hers

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