Tinder date gone wrong

The body of 22-year-old British backpacker Grace Millane is believed to have been found in New Zealand’s Waitakere Ranges.

Police had earlier declared the portion of Scenic Drive of interest in their investigation into the disappearance of Ms Millane, who went missing on December 1, and the area has been under police guard since Sunday morning.

The body was found about 10 metres from the side of the road, hidden in bushland, and is believed to have been taken there in a rental car that was recently found nearly 300 kilometres away in Taupo.

A 26-year-old New Zealand man, who is said to have been on a Tinder date with the woman on the night she was last seen, has been charged with her murder.

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Earlier on Sunday, officers seized a ‘vehicle of interest’, and were trying to retrace the vehicle’s movements since Ms Millane’s disappearance last Saturday.

The young traveller, from Essex, England, was last seen at the CityLife hotel in Auckland with the man.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said he felt deeply for the young woman’s family, but was glad to be able to at least return her to her relatives.

British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning
British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning
Investigators have said they hold 'grave fears' for the safety of Grace Millane, 22, (pictured) who was last seen at an Auckland hotel nearly a week ago
Investigators have said they hold ‘grave fears’ for the safety of Grace Millane, 22, (pictured) who was last seen at an Auckland hotel nearly a week ago

At a press conference at 5pm local time on Saturday, Detective Inspector Scott Beard told reporters Ms Millane’s family had been informed of the alleged killer’s arrest.

He said: ‘Just after 3pm this afternoon (Saturday) a 26-year-old man was located at a central Auckland address by police.

‘He was brought back to the Auckland Central Police Station and is currently speaking to us in relation to the murder of Grace Millane.’

Det Insp Beard said the arrest had confirmed Ms Millane’s disappearance was a homicide, but said he and his team were ‘determined to find her and return her to her family’.

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Earlier on Saturday police released images of her necklace and watch and urged anyone who recognised the items to come forward.  

They said several of Ms Millane’s possessions, including her passport, were missing.

Despite a major police search and public campaign for information, no further sightings of the backpacker were confirmed.

Police released this CCTV image of Grace Millane, 22, leaving Sky City, in Auckland's CBD, at around 7.15pm on December 1
Police released this CCTV image of Grace Millane, 22, leaving Sky City, in Auckland’s CBD, at around 7.15pm on December 1

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Ms Millane’s millionaire father, who travelled to Auckland to help find his beloved daughter, said the ‘fun-loving’ graduate’s family were ‘extremely concerned’ for her welfare.

Ms Millane, who turned 22 on December 2, was last seen with a ‘male companion’at CityLife Hotel, in Auckland, on December 1.

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

Det Insp Beard said: ‘Detectives have assessed Grace’s belongings that were found at the backpackers where she was staying.

‘Several of her belongings, including her passport, are missing and police believe it is likely Grace has these items with her.’

Det Insp Beard said: ‘Detectives have assessed Grace’s belongings that were found at the backpackers where she was staying.

‘Several of her belongings, including her passport, are missing and police believe it is likely Grace has these items with her.’

Ms Millane, from Essex, graduated from university in September and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.

After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been ‘bombarding’ her family with photos as she kept in near-daily contact with her parents and brothers via social media.

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

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

 

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