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NZ murder inquiry into missing backpacker

Written by PaperDabba

New Zealand Police have announced they believe missing British backpacker Grace Millane has been murdered.

The 22-year-old from Essex – described by her father as “lovely” and “family-orientated” – was last seen in New Zealand a week ago.

Det Insp Scott Beard said the evidence told them she was “no longer alive”.

A 26-year-old man – who was with Miss Millane before she went missing – is being held in Auckland in connection with the murder.

“Grace’s family have been advised of this development and they are devastated,” Det Insp Beard added.

The announcement follows a review of CCTV footage, the forensic examination of a hotel where she was last seen on Saturday 1 December, and the discovery of a vehicle.

Police confirmed the man being held was with Miss Millane on the Saturday evening and “went to a number of places before going to the CityLife Hotel”, where she was last seen.

Miss Millane’s body has not been found, but Det Insp Beard said police were “determined to do everything we can to find her”.

He added the “thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace’s family tonight”.

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Miss Millane, who graduated from the University of Lincoln in September, had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

She had booked to stay at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland until 8 December.

Speaking at a news conference in Auckland on Friday, Grace’s father, David Millane, said his daughter had been “bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures” before she went missing.

A number of Miss Millane’s belongings – including her passport, a silver necklace and pink watch – are missing, and police say they hope their discovery could help them locate her body.

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