Missing British backpacker 'was murdered' say New Zealand police

A man will be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand.

The 26-year-old man has been speaking with police in Auckland in relation to her disappearance, officers said. 

“The evidence we have located so far, our scene examination, some of the CCTV footage we have, and our investigation, has determined that Grace is no longer alive and that this is a murder investigation,” Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.

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

A man, 26, is set to be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane

A man, 26, is set to be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane (AAP)

Police also revealed they have found a vehicle of interest in their homicide investigation.

Det Insp Beard added: “We still do not know where Grace is. 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, a day before her 22nd birthday.

Police revealed they 
are treating the tourist's disappearance as a murder investigation

Police revealed they
are treating the tourist’s disappearance as a murder investigation (AAP)

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.

Police want the public to help find this necklace belonging to backpacker Grace Millane. (AAP)
The backpacker was last heard from the day before her birthday
The backpacker was last heard from the day before her birthday (AAP)

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.

Earlier searches of Millane’s accommodation at a backpackers’ hostel found several items, including her passport, were missing.

On Saturday police released images of a pink watch and a necklace belonging to her and asked for the public’s help in finding them.

The major police search and public campaign for information led to dozens of calls being made to a hotline.

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

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

“I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace’s family tonight,” Det Insp Beard said.

“I want to reassure everyone, both here and abroad, that New Zealand Police are determined to do everything we can to find her.”

With dpa

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