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Auckland court finds New Zealand man, 27, found guilty of murdering Grace Millane, British backpacker he met on Tinder

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Grace Millane 3A New Zealand jury found a 27-year-old man guilty of murder in the death of the 22-year-old British backpacker Grace Millane [photo]

A male suspect has been found guilty of the murder of Grace Millane, a British backpacker who disappeared a year ago in Auckland after going on a date.
The 27-year-old  man from Auckland in New Zealand was found guilty Friday in the slaying of the British backpacker he met through the dating app Tinder just before she turned up dead in December 2018.

Millane arrived in New Zealand in that November as part of a trip she planned to take around the world.
The jury of seven women and five men took just five hours to unanimously agree that the accused, who cannot be named, had murdered Millane in the hotel room where they had gone after their night out.
As the verdict was delivered, the victim’s parents David and Gillian Millane, who had sat through the three-week trial in Auckland’s high court, sobbed. Some members of the jury could also be seen in tears.

Grace Millane and her killer 1Grace Millane and the Tinder date who killed her met at the Sky Casino in Auckland on Dec 1, 2018, the night he strangled her to death

The defendant showed no emotion as the verdict was read out. He will be sentenced in February.
The 22-year-old recent college graduate was last seen alive in the city of Auckland on December 1, the same day she met up with her suspected killer for a date at the Sky Casino.
Prosecutors said the man, who Millane connected with on Tinder, took her back to his apartment after a night of cocktails. She later died in his room at the CityLife hotel after being strangled to death.
The man then contorted Millane’s body into a suitcase and buried her in a shallow grave in the Waitakere ranges, a bushland area west of the city.
The defense had elected not to dispute their client killed Millane. Rather they said  it was an accidental.
Prosecutors have maintained that the defendant caused Millane’s death, and disposed of her body in an attempt to cover up the incident.
The defendant used “reckless violence” while strangling Millane during consensual sex, and disregarded the risk to her life when choking her so hard and for so long that she died, the prosecution said.
A forensic pathologist said it would have taken five to 10 minutes for Millane to have died, and she would first have fallen unconscious as her supply of oxygen was cut off due to the pressure on her neck.

Gillian Millane and Dave Millane 1.jpgParents of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane, Dave and Gillian, react as they speak to the media outside the High Court, in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday. 

The unidentified suspect has denied malicious intent in his date’s death, claiming instead that he killed her accidentally as they engaged in consensual, erotic chocking.
Countering the defense argument, crown prosecutor Brian Dickey told the jury: “You can’t consent to your own death.”
“This isn’t a little bit of sex gone wrong… because the person doing that must have known that they were hurting her, causing her harm, that might well cause her death, but they were reckless and carried on, and she died,” Dickey said.

Millane’s body was found a week later, buried in the mountainous Waitakere ranges.

After just hours of deliberation, jurors unanimously agreed on Friday that the accused was guilty in Millane’s murder.

Prosecutors pointed out that the suspect “wasn’t distressed or concerned by her death” and that he “sexualized” the killing by searching for pornography and taking a photograph of her corpse.

The Auckland hotel room where Grace Millane was killed 1The Auckland hotel room where Grace Millane was killed

The defendant also went about making plans to dispose of the remains, purchasing cleaning products and a shovel.
The following day, authorities said he went on a Tinder with a different woman while the body remained back in his room.
The jury also learned that the defendant had a long history of Tinder dating, with a number of his former dates cutting off contact with him because they felt “uncomfortable” with his demeanor or sexual proclivities.
The suspect, who lived in an inner-city hotel, had a reported interest in choking and domination, and a history of telling exaggerated stories and lies – including that he had cancer, was a professional athlete, and worked as an “oil manager” off-shore.
Addressing the jury, Judge Simon Moore noted that the defendant had “repeatedly” lied to the police and others involved in the case, and there was substantial evidence of his lies. 

 

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