Man found guilty of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand

A 27-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane whose body was found buried in a suitcase in New Zealand, local media reported.

The young woman from Wickford, Essex, was strangled by a man she had met on dating site Tinder and with whom she spent several hours drinking in the centre of Auckland on December 1, 2018.

The pair returned to his apartment and Ms Millane was killed either that night or in the early hours of the next morning – the date of her 22nd birthday.

The jury of seven women and five men returned a unanimous verdict after just five hours deliberation at Auckland High Court.

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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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The Crown successfully argued the man, whose name is subject to a suppression order, strangled her and shoved her body inside a suitcase before burying her in a forested area outside Auckland.

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 defence had claimed the death was accidental and occurred during rough sexual intercourse.

Justice Simon Moore told jury members before they delivered their verdict that they had to be certain the man had murderous intent when he put his hands on Ms Millane's neck during sexual intercourse to convict him of murder, the New Zealand Herald reported.

Grace Millane death

Mr Moore asked: "Are you sure that when he applied pressure to Ms Millane's neck... Did he intend to cause injury?"

He further asked them to consider if the accused was willing to take the chance of Ms Millane dying due to his actions.

"If yes, then (the defendant) is guilty of murder," the judge said.

"In other words, (he) must have appreciated Ms Millane's death was a likely consequence... but was willing to run that risk."

The court had been told Ms Millane had an interest in BDSM, with a previous sexual partner testifying they had used safe words and physical tapping to indicate when physical pressure became overwhelming.

During the trial the jurors heard from forensic experts who examined the accused's apartment for blood stains as well as Ms Millane's body after her death.

They were also shown footage of the woman and the defendant drinking at various bars throughout Auckland and kissing before they returned to his apartment.

Video footage from the elevator of her exiting on the third floor marked the last recorded time Ms Millane was seen alive.

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