News of Zealand

Man Appears in Court for Murdering UK Backpacker Days After She Arrived in New Zealand

Grace Millane disappeared on the eve of her 22nd birthday.

by Zoe Madden-Smith
10 December 2018, 2:30am

Grace Millane in a photo supplied by NZ Police (left) and a CCTV still of her in Auckland on the night she disappeared.

This article originally appeared on VICE New Zealand

A 26-year-old man charged with Grace Millane’s murder has appeared in Auckland’s District Court. The man walked into the dock wearing a blue boiler suit and was initially denied name suppression by the judge. His lawyer immediately appealed that decision, which under New Zealand law automatically granted the accused temporary name suppression.

It is believed Grace and the accused met over an online dating app and met up on December 1, the eve of Millane’s 22nd birthday. The last sighting of Millane was with this man, captured on CCTV in a central Auckland hotel.

After Millane had been being missing for a week, Police took the man into custody for questioning. And it was only a day later when police found a body, believed to be Millane’s, 10 metres off the road in the bush-covered Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland.

The “outgoing, fun-loving and family-oriented” artist from Essex had just finished her advertising degree when she set off on her year-long trip around the world. Starting with a six-week tour of Peru, the young backpacker reached New Zealand on November 20 and explored the Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga before heading to Auckland.

The murder has sparked tiresome online debate about young women travelling alone and using dating apps. In and among the thousands of condolences, some felt it was appropriate to put some of the blame on Millane for her death—not her killer.

Many others have fired back at the absurd argument, reminding everyone that it is these very attitudes that normalise, condone and perpetuate horrific violence against women.

Millane’s brother has paid tribute to his beloved sister with photos of the two embracing above a caption featuring the lyrics of 'You Are My Sunshine'. The post has been flooded with messages of support from people all across the world.