Grace Millane death: Prosecution presents first evidence

Grace Millane

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Lucie Blackman Trust

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Miss Millane had been travelling alone in New Zealand

The suspect in the death of British backpacker Grace Millane went on a Tinder date while her body was still in a suitcase in his hotel room, prosecutors said.

The revelation came as the first evidence was presented in the trial which started this week.

Ms Millane, 22, who is from Wickford, Essex, was last seen in Auckland, New Zealand, on 1 December last year, before her body was found a week later.

The accused has pleaded not guilty.

The family of Miss Millane sat in the Auckland court, metres away from the 27-year old defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

While prosecutors believe the British woman was murdered in the man’s apartment after the two met on Tinder, the defence said she died when strangled as part of consensual sex, saying that “acts designed to enhance sexual pleasure went wrong”.

The prosecution on Wednesday told the jury that the day after her death, the suspect went on a Tinder date with another woman with the body of his victim still in the apartment.

It also alleged that night after allegedly killing Ms Millane, he searched online for how to dispose of the body.

The court also heard the body was later buried in a suitcase in the Waitakere Ranges, near Auckland.

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Getty Images

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Grace Millane’s parents attended the Wednesday court hearing

The suspect had initially told police the pair had only had drinks and then gone home separately.

He later changed his story to say Ms Millane had died as a result of an accident during consensual sex.

Miss Millane’s death prompted an outpouring of public grief in New Zealand with the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologising to her family.

The young woman had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

The trial is expected to last one month.

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