Search for Grace Millane's body continues; 26-year-old to be charged with murder

1 NEWSMissing British backpacker Grace Millane is dead. A forensic operation is underway at the Citylife Hotel in the Auckland CBD.

On Saturday evening, police announced they will charge a 26-year-old man with her murder.

They had previously been speaking with him over Millane’s disappearance. He will remain in police custody until Monday morning when he will appear at Auckland District Court.

Grace Millane, 22, from Essex, had been in New Zealand for about two weeks.
SuppliedGrace Millane, 22, from Essex, had been in New Zealand for about two weeks.

Millane, 22, from Essex in the United Kingdom, was last seen in central Auckland on December 1 and was reported missing on Wednesday.

READ MORE:
Missing backpacker: Dad pleads for information on ‘lovely, fun-loving’ daughter’s whereabouts
Family appealing for information after English backpacker goes missing in Auckland central
‘No evidence of foul play’ around backpacker’s disappearance in Auckland – police

News of the expected murder charge comes after police confirmed Millane’s disappearance was being treated as a homicide.

At a press conference on Saturday, Detective Inspector Scott Beard said police had gathered evidence, including CCTV footage and scene examinations at the CityLife Hotel on Queen Street, that determined “Grace is no longer alive”. 

Beard said they “still do not know where Grace is”.

Police say Millane was last spotted entering CityLife hotel in Auckland's CBD with a man on Saturday, December 1.
AMANDA SAXTON/STUFFPolice say Millane was last spotted entering CityLife hotel in Auckland’s CBD with a man on Saturday, December 1.

“We are determined to find her and return her to her family.”

Police continue to search the CityLife apartment where Millane was last seen at 9.41pm on December 1, and are sifting through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

They are also examining a “vehicle of interest” which was seized on Saturday and are trying to find out where it had recently travelled.

Beard said he had no evidence to suggest Millane knew the man before Saturday night but detectives knew they were together from the time she was captured on CCTV footage at SkyCity to the time she was seen at the CityLife Hotel.

Asked if the pair met on dating app Tinder, Beard said he would not speculate.

Police are still searching for some of Millane’s belongings, including her passport, a pale pink Casio Baby-G watch and a silver necklace with a green stone in the middle, which were missing from the Base Backpacker hostel she was staying at.

“That property is going to be somewhere, the clothing is going to be somewhere, we haven’t found it. Somebody may find it somewhere, we don’t know what has happened to it,” Beard said.

Police said the Millane’s family were “devastated” by the news her disappearance was being treated as a murder investigation.

Her father David Millane arrived in Auckland from Essex on Friday. Brothers Michael and Declan had been vocal in their search for their sister, urging people to share and retweet images of her online.

Grace Millane's father David Millane spoke to media at Auckland Central Police Station on Friday.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/STUFFGrace Millane’s father David Millane spoke to media at Auckland Central Police Station on Friday.

Millane was on a year-long OE after graduating from the University of Lincoln in September.

The advertising graduate and keen artist arrived in New Zealand on November 20, after travelling through South America.

This was her first time travelling abroad alone.

Stuff