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