Missing backpacker was murdered: NZ police

A British backpacker missing in New Zealand since last weekend was murdered, police said.

Police said they were questioning a 26-year-old man about the suspected slaying of 22-year-old Grace Millane and a vehicle of interest had been secured.

“Sadly the evidence we have gathered to this point of the enquiry has established that this is a homicide,” Detective Inspector Scott Beard told a press conference in Auckland.

“Grace’s family have been advised of this development and they are devastated.”

“We still do not know where Grace is,” Beard added. “We are determined to find her and return her to her family.”

Millane, the daughter of English property developer David Millane, had not been seen since leaving her hostel in Auckland last Saturday.

The Essex woman had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip following her university graduation.

After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been near-daily contact with her family until December 1.

The last confirmed sighting of Millane was at 9.41pm the same day at the Citylife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a “male companion”.

Police later said they had spoken to the man and that he was a “person of interest”.

DI Beard confirmed that the man being questioned by police on Saturday was the same individual.

“We know that he was with her on the Saturday evening and went to a number of places before going to the Citylife Hotel,” he told reporters.

Police have not uncovered any evidence the pair had met before. Asked if the pair had met on the Tinder dating app, the detective said: “I’m not going to speculate on how they met. The issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her.”

Detectives seized a “vehicle of interest” on Saturday and inquiries were under way to establish where it had been.

With dpa