Family of murdered Grace Millane feel killer’s sentencing is not closure

A cousin of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane has said the sentencing of her killer this week may not help her family to overcome their grief.

Hannah O’Callaghan told BBC Breakfast: “The sentence will not change the fact that Grace is gone.”

She remembered Ms Millane as a “fun-loving carefree individual” with much to look forward to.

Ms Millane had just started to travel the world after recently graduating from university.

Grace Millane death
Grace Millane death

Ms Millane, of Wickford, Essex, went on a date with a 27-year-old man on December 1 2018 while in New Zealand, and was killed either that night or in the early hours of the next morning, the date of her 22nd birthday.

Her body was later found buried in a shallow grave in a forested area outside Auckland.

The 27-year-old man, who can not be named for legal reasons, was found guilty at Auckland High Court in November.

He is due to be sentenced on Friday.

Prosecutors said he strangled her and shoved her body inside a suitcase before burying her.

Grace Millane death
Grace Millane death

She was assumed missing and her father, David Millane, flew to New Zealand as local authorities spent a week searching until her body was found by police.

The family have now set up a charity in her memory, called Love Grace, where handbags and toiletries are collected for domestic abuse victims.

The project is now running in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Britain.

Ms O’Callaghan described it as a “really fitting tribute” as it helps to make women “feel like they are worth something”.

It has also helped Ms Millane’s mother Gillian to grieve.

Ms O’Callaghan told the programme: “It’s allowed her to express her grief.

“Sometimes when things like this happen you do feel useless.

“You can’t change it so let’s make some positives out of our negative.”