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Body found in search for British backpacker Grace Millane, 22, who disappeared in New Zealand



Body found in police search for British backpacker Grace Millane, 22, as police charge New Zealand man 'believed to have been her Tinder date' with her murder

  • Grace Millane, 22, was last seen at an Auckland hotel with a man on December 1 
  • Police say they have seized a car of interest and are looking into its movements  
  • A 26-year-old man has been charged with her murder, Auckland police said
  • On Sunday, officers found a body in New Zealand's Waitakere Ranges 
  • They believe the body, found 10m into bushland, is Ms Millane's

By Danyal Hussain and Rod Ardehali For Mailonline and Charlie Coe and Lauren Ferri For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 21:02 EST, 8 December 2018 | Updated: 00:36 EST, 9 December 2018

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The body of 22-year-old British backpacker Grace Millane is believed to have been found in New Zealand's Waitakere Ranges.

Police had earlier declared the portion of Scenic Drive of interest in their investigation into the disappearance of Ms Millane, who went missing on December 1, and the area has been under police guard since Sunday morning.

The body was found about 10 metres from the side of the road, hidden in bushland, and is believed to have been taken there in a rental car that was recently found nearly 300 kilometres away in Taupo. 

A 26-year-old New Zealand man, who is said to have been on a Tinder date with the woman on the night she was last seen, has been charged with her murder. 

Earlier on Sunday, officers seized a 'vehicle of interest', and were trying to retrace the vehicle's movements since Ms Millane's disappearance last Saturday. 

The young traveller, from Essex, England, was last seen at the CityLife hotel in Auckland with the man.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said he felt deeply for the young woman's family, but was glad to be able to at least return her to her relatives.

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British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning
British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning

British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning

Investigators have said they hold 'grave fears' for the safety of Grace Millane, 22, (pictured) who was last seen at an Auckland hotel nearly a week ago
Investigators have said they hold 'grave fears' for the safety of Grace Millane, 22, (pictured) who was last seen at an Auckland hotel nearly a week ago
Despite a major police search and public campaign for information, no further sightings of the backpacker have been confirmed
Despite a major police search and public campaign for information, no further sightings of the backpacker have been confirmed

New Zealand Police have announced they believe missing British backpacker Grace Millane, 22, has been murdered. (pictured are released images of the young woman wearing her necklace (left) and her watch in the hope it might lead to information as to her whereabouts)

Pictured: Police have been standing guard on a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges
Pictured: Police have been standing guard on a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges

Pictured: Police have been standing guard on a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges

A body was found about 10m from the road in bushland, and police believe it is Ms Millane's body 
A body was found about 10m from the road in bushland, and police believe it is Ms Millane's body 

A body was found about 10m from the road in bushland, and police believe it is Ms Millane's body 

At a press conference at 5pm local time on Saturday, Detective Inspector Scott Beard told reporters Ms Millane's family had been informed of the alleged killer's arrest. 

He said: 'Just after 3pm this afternoon (Saturday) a 26-year-old man was located at a central Auckland address by police.

'He was brought back to the Auckland Central Police Station and is currently speaking to us in relation to the murder of Grace Millane.'

Det Insp Beard said the arrest had confirmed Ms Millane's disappearance was a homicide, but said he and his team were 'determined to find her and return her to her family'. 

Earlier on Saturday police released images of her necklace and watch and urged anyone who recognised the items to come forward.  

They said several of Ms Millane's possessions, including her passport, were missing. 

Despite a major police search and public campaign for information, no further sightings of the backpacker were confirmed. 

Police released this CCTV image of Grace Millane, 22, leaving Sky City, in Auckland's CBD, at around 7.15pm on December 1
Police released this CCTV image of Grace Millane, 22, leaving Sky City, in Auckland's CBD, at around 7.15pm on December 1

Police released this CCTV image of Grace Millane, 22, leaving Sky City, in Auckland's CBD, at around 7.15pm on December 1

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Ms Millane's millionaire father, who travelled to Auckland to help find his beloved daughter, said the 'fun-loving' graduate's family were 'extremely concerned' for her welfare.

Ms Millane, who turned 22 on December 2, was last seen with a 'male companion'at CityLife Hotel, in Auckland, on December 1.

Searches have also been carried out at the backpackers' accommodation.

Det Insp Beard said: 'Detectives have assessed Grace's belongings that were found at the backpackers where she was staying.

'Several of her belongings, including her passport, are missing and police believe it is likely Grace has these items with her.'

Ms Millane, from Essex, graduated from university in September and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.

After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been 'bombarding' her family with photos as she kept in near-daily contact with her parents and brothers via social media.

Her father, David Millane, said they last had contact on the day she vanished. 

Police said they had received dozens of calls to a hotline and more than 25 staff were working on the case, trawling through hours of CCTV footage to trace her movements.  

David Millane, Grace's property developer father, broke down in tears as he begged for help finding his backpacker daughter after she vanished in New Zealand 
David Millane, Grace's property developer father, broke down in tears as he begged for help finding his backpacker daughter after she vanished in New Zealand 

David Millane, Grace's property developer father, broke down in tears as he begged for help finding his backpacker daughter after she vanished in New Zealand 

A CCTV image shows she was at Sky City, a hotel a short distance away, at 7.15pm on the same night - but her whereabouts between those two sightings is unknown.   

Her father, a 60-year-old property developer, fought back tears as he urged anyone who has any information about his 'outgoing, fun-loving' daughter to come forward.

'We last had contact with her on Saturday the 1st of December and as a family we've been extremely concerned for her welfare,' said Mr Millane, who arrived in New Zealand on Friday morning.

'Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving and family orientated daughter.'

Mr Millane wept as he made an emotional statement urging anyone who has any information about his 'outgoing, fun-loving' daughter to come forward
Mr Millane wept as he made an emotional statement urging anyone who has any information about his 'outgoing, fun-loving' daughter to come forward

Mr Millane wept as he made an emotional statement urging anyone who has any information about his 'outgoing, fun-loving' daughter to come forward

Police have  revealed Grace was last seen with a man at the City Life hotel on December 1 before she disappeared. CCTV also showed her at Sky City earlier in the day
Police have  revealed Grace was last seen with a man at the City Life hotel on December 1 before she disappeared. CCTV also showed her at Sky City earlier in the day

Police have revealed Grace was last seen with a man at the City Life hotel on December 1 before she disappeared. CCTV also showed her at Sky City earlier in the day

Her brother Declan Millane made an emotional plea to find his sister in a video widely shared on social media
Her brother Declan Millane made an emotional plea to find his sister in a video widely shared on social media

Her brother Declan Millane made an emotional plea to find his sister in a video widely shared on social media

The 22-year-old, originally from Essex in south-east England, travelled to Auckland three weeks ago
The 22-year-old, originally from Essex in south-east England, travelled to Auckland three weeks ago

The 22-year-old, originally from Essex in south-east England, travelled to Auckland three weeks ago

He tearfully explained that his daughter has never been out of contact with her family for such a long period of time, usually contacting them on social media.

'She arrived here on the 20th of November and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures,' Mr Millane said.

'We're all extremely upset and it's very difficult at this time to describe the range of emotions we are going through.'

'Finally I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anybody who has seen, spoken to or come into contact with Grace over the last few days to come forward with any detail no matter how small and contact the investigation team.' 

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: 'We are providing consular support to the family in the UK, and working with the New Zealand Police in relation to reports of a missing British national in New Zealand.' 

A British family has issued a desperate plea to find Grace Millane who hasn't been seen for five days after vanishing from a New Zealand hostel
A British family has issued a desperate plea to find Grace Millane who hasn't been seen for five days after vanishing from a New Zealand hostel
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said Ms Millane had not spoken to her family in a number of days
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said Ms Millane had not spoken to her family in a number of days

The family said it was 'completely out of character' for Ms Millane to go silent as they would speak with her most days 

The 22-year-old tourist had reportedly been staying at Base Backpackers on Queen Street in the heart of Auckland
The 22-year-old tourist had reportedly been staying at Base Backpackers on Queen Street in the heart of Auckland

The 22-year-old tourist had reportedly been staying at Base Backpackers on Queen Street in the heart of Auckland

A missing persons report was filed on December 5 (pictured)
A missing persons report was filed on December 5 (pictured)

A missing persons report was filed on December 5 (pictured)

Ms Millane (pictured with her brothers) graduated from the University of Lincoln with a Bachelor of Advertising and Marketing in September 
Ms Millane (pictured with her brothers) graduated from the University of Lincoln with a Bachelor of Advertising and Marketing in September 

Ms Millane (pictured with her brothers) graduated from the University of Lincoln with a Bachelor of Advertising and Marketing in September 

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