The body of British tourist Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges in December.
The body of British tourist Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges in December.

Backpacker Grace’s alleged killer to front court

A MAN  accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand last month is expected to face court today.

The 26-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will make his first appearance in the high court of Auckland.

Ms Millane was reported missing by her family in early December after she was last seen on December 1, the day before her 22nd birthday.

A police investigation was launched and a week later, officers found her body at a remote location in the Wāitakere Ranges on the outskirts of Auckland.

A photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. Picture: Hagen Hopkins/Getty
A photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. Picture: Hagen Hopkins/Getty

The 26-year-old was charged with murder following the discovery and appeared at the Auckland District Court on December 10, where he was granted interim name suppression.

As reported by Stuff NZ, Judge Evangelos Thomas refused to give the accused name suppression at his first court appearance. However, it was automatically granted after his lawyer Ian Brookie signalled an appeal.

The father of one was described as "a very confused man" by his grandmother, who spoke to MailOnline during his December appearance in court.

It is alleged Grace Millane was murdered sometime between December 1 and 2. Picture: Facebook
It is alleged Grace Millane was murdered sometime between December 1 and 2. Picture: Facebook

Ms Millane, from Essex in southeast England, graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Lincoln in September and set out on the "trip of a lifetime" on October 26.

The outgoing former student spent six weeks in South America as part of a gap year. She then arrived in New Zealand alone on November 19 and was allegedly last seen alive in the company of a man on Saturday, December 1.

Ms Millane travelled to the North Island city in late November but alarms bells rang when she failed to respond to birthday well-wishes on her 22nd birthday on December 2.

She had been staying at the $18-a-night Base Backpackers on Queen Street in the centre of the city, a popular location for travellers.

Her parents were left baffled after they lost contact with their daughter, describing her silence as "completely out of character".

Ms Millane's father flew to New Zealand and was there when police discovered his daughter's body on 8 December.

It later emerged that just 11 minutes before she was last seen alive, a Facebook user alleged to be the accused man left a chilling comment on the talented artist's Facebook profile picture, writing "beautiful very radiant" with an upside-down smiley face emoji. The comment was later deleted.

Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty
Several hundred people walk up Queen Street in a silent march to remember Grace Millane on December 15, 2018 in Auckland. Picture: Phil Walter/Getty

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Brentwood Cathedral near her family home in Essex on January 10 for the funeral service.

Writing on social media ahead of the funeral, her brother Declan described it as "Grace's Day".

The pages of the order of service were decorated with some of the paintings that the keen artist had created.