Grace Millane murder trial: British backpacker ‘died accidentally during consensual sex’, says accused

British backpacker Grace Millane was killed by accident during consensual sex, a court in New Zealand has heard.

The defence for the man accused of murdering the 21-year-old from Wickford, Essex, in Auckland last December said she died after being consensually choked during sex.

The 27-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denies her murder and has chosen not to give evidence himself.

Last week, jurors were shown footage of the accused wheeling Ms Millane's dead body out of his hotel in a suitcase.

It was alleged the man had organised another date while her body lay on the floor of his room.

CCTV footage shows Grace Millane, right, inside a hotel lift with the 27-year-old male who is accused of her murder (Picture: PA)

Auckland Crown Court heard on Tuesday that Ms Millane had profiles on BDSM dating apps and had allowed a former partner to choke her during sex.

The accused and Ms Millane met through dating app Tinder and drank cocktails for several hours before returning to his hotel room at CityLife in Auckland, the court heard.

Earlier in the trial, a former partner of the accused said he had suffocated her during sex.

Prosecutors say the man strangled Ms Millane. He denies murder but admits shoving her body in a suitcase and burying her in bushland outside the city.

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BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo issued by the Lucie Blackman Trust of Grace Millane, 22, who was killed in New Zealand in December 2018. Ms Millane's father wiped aside a tear as he heard his daughter's body was found twisted inside a suitcase "in the foetal position" a week after the British backpacker went missing.
A general view of Auckland High Court in New Zealand where a 27-year-old male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons is accused of strangling British backpacker Grace Millane from Wickford, Essex, during rough sexual intercourse at his apartment in the centre of the city on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday November 6, 2019. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Benjamin Cooper/PA Wire
General view of exterior of Bluestone Room, Auckland, the last place where Grace Millane drank with her alleged killer. A 27-year-old male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons is on trial accused of strangling the British backpacker from Wickford, Essex, during rough sexual intercourse at his apartment in the centre of the city on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday November 7, 2019. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Benjamin Cooper/PA Wire
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo issued by Auckland City Police of Briton Grace Millane, 22, who died after being involved in consensual sexual activity including choking, a forensic pathologist who gave evidence on behalf of the man accused of her murder said, according to media reports in New Zealand.
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: A photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 16: Police maintain a presence outside the Auckland High Court on January 16, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. A 26 year old man is charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane, whose body was found in bush in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on 9 December 2018. The man pleaded not guilty and a trial date was set for November 04. Name suppression continues . (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Tributes are pictured outside the CityLife Hotel on Queen Street on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 15: Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court last Monday charged with her murder. The judge has granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Members of the public look on during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Members of the public look on during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Kirsten Te Rito sings 'Make You Feel My Love' during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
A woman holds candles during a vigil for murdered British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square Park in Wellington on December 12, 2018. - Vigils were held around New Zealand for murdered Millane, as her father thanked the South Pacific nation for an "outpouring of love" towards his slain daughter. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: A candle is placed next to a photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Three women sit under a photo of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square Park in Wellington on December 12, 2018. - Vigils were held around New Zealand for murdered Millane, as her father thanked the South Pacific nation for an "outpouring of love" towards his slain daughter. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Candles and flowers from members of the public surround a photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
A oman kneels next to candles and flowers near a photo of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane during the vigil for murdered British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square Park in Wellington on December 12, 2018. - Vigils were held around New Zealand for murdered Millane, as her father thanked the South Pacific nation for an "outpouring of love" towards his slain daughter. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Candles and flowers from members of the public surround a photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Members of the public pay their respects during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: People gather to honour Grace Millane in Federal St on December 12, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: People gather to honour Grace Millane in St Patricks Square on December 12, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff speaks to those gathered to honour Grace Millane in St Patricks Square on December 12, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 12: People gather to honour Grace Millane in St Patricks Square on December 12, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday charged with her murder. The judge granted a suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 11: The floral tributes at the Titirangi roundabout grow larger for Grace Millane on December 11, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday morning charged with her murder. The judge today granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 11: The floral tributes at the Titirangi roundabout grow larger for Grace Millane on December 11, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday morning charged with her murder. The judge today granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 10: Flowers are left as a tribute to Grace Millane on December 10, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court this morning charged with her murder. The judge today granted suppression order prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 09: The scene where the body of British tourist Grace Millane has been found by New Zealand police in the Waitakere Ranges on December 09, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Police have been investigating the disappearance of 22-year-old British woman Grace Millane after she was last seen on Saturday December 1 in Auckland. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 09: The scene where the body of British tourist Grace Millane has been found by New Zealand police in the Waitakere Ranges on December 09, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Police have been investigating the disappearance of 22-year-old British woman Grace Millane after she was last seen on Saturday December 1 in Auckland. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
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Defence barrister Ron Mansfield said: "If this couple engaged in consensual sexual activity which included pressure being applied to her neck with her consent and that went wrong, that is not murder.

"Death through this mechanism may thankfully be rare but it does happen and sadly it happened here."

The court heard from police statements that Ms Millane had been using BDSM dating site Whiplr an hour before she met the defendant.

A former sexual partner of Ms Millane's, whose identity has been suppressed, gave a written statement to the court saying the pair had tried choking during sex.

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"When we researched it we knew the word was asphyxiation," he said. "Grace and I discussed keeping hands wide and on the side of the neck, never on the front."

He said the pair had a safe word or tapped the other person three times to indicate they wanted to stop.

Florida-based forensic pathologist Dr Fintan Garavan, appearing as a defence witness by video link, told the court Ms Millane died during consensual sexual activity including choking. He said the primary cause of death was asphyxiation.

He said there was "no evidence to injuries of deeper haemorrhaging" in Ms Millane's death.

He said a bruise found on Ms Millane's neck was not located in deep tissue, which along with further bruising on her chest and arms showed the injuries were the result of consensual activity.

"In my expert opinion, if a non-consensual act has taken place the victim is under attack or resisting attack, they struggle," he said.

Grace Millane was killed in Auckland, New Zealand, last December (Pictures: PA)

"It's that action, the struggle or struggling, between an aggressor and a recipient, that gives rise to such injuries."

The court heard Ms Millane's alcohol consumption that night may have sent her heart into a "terminal tailspin" when she was choked during sex.

Dr Garavan said alcohol could "very well" have been a secondary contributing factor in Ms Millane's death.

The defence said she consumed four mango cocktails, one tequila shot and two whisky cocktails and also shared three half litre jugs of margaritas and sangria with the defendant.

Dr Garavan said the alcohol, along with the choking, was "an iceberg making its way into the shipping lane".

He said: "It very likely has become an important indirect player in causing death."

The defence is expected to finish presenting its case on Wednesday. The trial continues.

This article originally appeared on Yahoo UK
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