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Her body was found ‘intact’ say police

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A man has appeared in court charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane, as New Zealand’s prime minister spoke of an “overwhelming sense of hurt and shame” over her death.

The suspect, dressed in a blue boiler suit, was told he was being remanded in custody until his next appearance on 23 January.

As the 26-year-old was led out of the courtroom, a person in the public gallery yelled: “Scumbag.”

The suspect was listed on a charge sheet as residing at the Citylife Hotel on Queen Street in central Auckland.

The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at Citylife Hotel at 9.41pm on Saturday 1 December, when she was seen with a “male companion”.








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Video:
PM’s emotional apology to Grace’s family

Ms Millane’s body was found in an area of bush in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges.

Police have not released the results of a post-mortem, however, investigating officer Detective Inspector Scott Beard did reveal that the University of Lincoln graduate’s body was found “intact”.

A shovel police are looking for in connection with the murder of Grace Millane in New Zealand
Image:
A shovel police are looking for in connection with the death of Grace Millane

He also said police are searching for a shovel believed to be related to the investigation. A picture of a similar shovel was released.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s justice minister Andrew Little criticised some British media where the suspect’s name had been published.

In comments published by Fairfax media, he said: “The international media, particularly the British media are not helping the Millane family. And if they are concerned about doing justice for the family, they should stop publishing details.

“I would just say to the British media, we are dealing with a family from their country, it is their citizen who has been lost in New Zealand to this homicide here in New Zealand, we want to do justice for the family.

“Justice means the person accused is held to account… Things that happen overseas that undermine this are an unhelpful action for the family.”

His words come after the suspect was granted temporary name suppression during his court appearance on Monday.

He has yet to enter a plea to the charge of murdering the British backpacker between 1 and 2 December but his lawyer, Ian Brookie, applied for name suppression, saying it was needed for a fair trial.

Ms Millane was staying at the Base backpackers hostel in central Auckland prior to her disappearance
Image:
Ms Millane was staying at the Base backpackers’ hostel in central Auckland

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

But Mr Brookie said he would appeal, meaning the man’s identity cannot be revealed until the appeal is heard.

Ms Millane’s father David is in New Zealand and, along with other family members, was in court as Judge Thomas addressed them on Monday.

Judge Evangelos Thomas makes remarks on December 10, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand
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Judge Evangelos Thomas spoke to Grace’s family during the hearing

In comments reported by Radio NZ, the judge said: “I’d like to acknowledge the presence of Grace’s family.

“I don’t know what we say to you at this time. Your grief must be desperate.

“All of us hope that justice for Grace is fair, swift and ultimately brings you some peace.”








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Video:
NZ tower lit up in Grace Millane tribute

Following the court appearance, prime minister Jacinda Ardern had a message for Ms Millane’s family.

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 who cannot be here, and her wider family and friends and loved ones.”

New Zealand police have released an image of a red Toyota Corolla that forms part of their murder investigation
Image:
Police released an image of a Toyota Corolla that forms part of their investigation

Ms Millane’s death comes just weeks after she had left her home in Wickford, Essex, to see the world.

After more than a month in South America, she had arrived in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, on 20 November.

https://www.facebook.com/michael.millane.9
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Grace Millane was described by her father as ‘fun-loving, outgoing and family-orientated’

She was last seen entering a central city hotel with a man more than a week ago and police were called after her regular pattern of communication with family was stopped.

Detectives have released images of a red Toyota Corolla hatchback and have asked anyone who saw the vehicle on Monday 3 December between 6.30am and 9.30am to contact them.

The car was rented in central Auckland on Sunday and later found in Taupo, in the centre of the North Island.

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