Grace Millane: New Zealand Police start murder inquiry

New Zealand Police have announced they believe missing British backpacker Grace Millane has been murdered.

The 22-year-old from Essex – described by her father as « lovely » and « family-orientated » – was last seen in New Zealand a week ago.

Det Insp Scott Beard said the evidence told them she was « no longer alive ».

A 26-year-old man – who was with Miss Millane before she went missing – is being held in Auckland in connection with the murder.

« Grace’s family have been advised of this development and they are devastated, » Det Insp Beard added.

The announcement follows forensic examination of a hotel where she was last seen on Saturday 1 December, and the discovery of a vehicle.

Police confirmed the man being held was with Miss Millane on the Saturday evening and « went to a number of places before going to the CityLife Hotel », where Miss Millane was last seen.

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Miss Millane’s body has not yet been found, but Det Insp Beard said police were « determined to do everything we can to find her ».

He added the « thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace’s family tonight ».

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Miss Millane, who graduated from the University of Lincoln in September, had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

She had booked to stay at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland until 8 December.

Speaking at a news conference in Auckland on Friday, Grace’s father, David Millane, said his daughter had been « bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures » before she went missing.

Source: BBC

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