Newstalk
Newstalk

07.42 10 Dec 2018


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A man has been charged with murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand.

The 22-year-old had arrived in Auckland on November 20th.

She was last seen entering a central city hotel with a man more than a week ago.

Police were called after her regular pattern of communication with her family had stopped.

Her death came just weeks after she had left her home in Essex, England to see the world.

She arrived in New Zealand after more than a month in South America.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spoken of an "overwhelming sense of hurt and shame" over the killing.

She said: "Firstly, I cannot imagine the grief of her family and what they will be experiencing and feeling right now.

"From the Kiwis I have spoken to there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality... especially to those who are visiting our shores.

"On behalf of New Zealand, I would like to apologise to Grace's family, your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn't and I'm sorry for that.

"My thoughts and prayers are with her father David who is in the country, and her mother Gillian who cannot be here, and her wider family and friends and loved ones."

Ms Millane's body was found in an area of bush in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday.

The man's appearance at Auckland District Court was brief and he has yet to enter a plea to the charge of murdering the backpacker between December 1st and 2nd.

The suspect's lawyer, Ian Brookie, applied for name suppression, saying it was needed for a fair trial.

Judge Evangelos Thomas rejected this argument on the basis of open justice.

Mr Brookie said he would appeal, meaning the man's identity is temporarily suppressed.

Ms Millane's father David is in New Zealand and, along with other family members, was in court.

The 26-year-old suspect stood dressed in a blue boiler suit and was told he was being remanded in custody until his next appearance on January 23rd.


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