Man to be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane

Ms Millane, 22, from Essex, England, was last seen at an Auckland hotel almost a week ago.

A auto seized in relation to the apparent murder of British backpacker Grace Millane appears to be the key piece of evidence in her death, a former police inspector says.

A 26-year-old man is being held in connection with her murder and a vehicle of interest has been found.

"I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight", Det Insp Beard said.

He will remain in custody until Monday morning, when he will appear in the Auckland District Court.

"We know that he was with her on the Saturday evening and went to a number of places before going to the Citylife Hotel", he told reporters.

"Grace's family has been advised of this development and they are devastated".

A search effort was launched after she was reported missing on December 5.

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been supporting Millane's family, posted on its Facebook page they were "incredibly saddened" by the police announcement.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-oriented daughter", he said, adding that she was usually in touch with her family every day.

Ms Millane was last seen at CityLife Hotel in Auckland at 9:41pm on December 1, accompanied by the 26-year-old man.

Searches have also been carried out at the backpackers' accommodation.

Grace Millane’s father David Millane spoke to reporters on Friday Dec. 7 2018
Grace Millane’s father David Millane spoke to reporters on Friday Dec. 7 2018

"We were praying for her while she was missing, and then of course. the sad realisation that she wasn't missing any longer, as it were".

Another priority would be finding three items which police said were missing - Millane's passport, a pink Casio Baby-G watch and a necklace.

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

Five days later, on Friday, David Millane arrived in New Zealand and spoke with media.

They had previously been speaking to him over Millane's disappearance.

Police said they had received dozens of calls to a hotline and more than 25 staff were working on the case, trawling through hours of CCTV footage to trace her movements.

"We know that they were together from the time at the Sky City Hotel".

The body of the 22-year-old woman has not been found.

Father John Corbyn, of Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Wickford, where the Millane family lives said she was well known in the community.

Her father, David Millane, said they last had contact on the day she vanished.

Police have revealed Grace was last seen with a man at the City Life hotel on December 1 before she disappeared.

  • Rogelio Becker