Grace Millane’s killer to appeal against conviction and sentence

Grace Millane
Grace Millane, a University of Lincoln graduate, was murdered while travelling in New Zealand (Image: Lucie Blackman Trust)

The killer of British backpacker Grace Millane has begun the process of appealing against his murder conviction and jail sentence, his barrister said.

Auckland-based Rachael Reed QC confirmed that an appeal had been filed in the New Zealand Court of Appeal.

The 28-year-old, who cannot be named, was jailed for at least 17 years for the murder last month.

He strangled Ms Millane in a hotel in Auckland, hid her body in a suitcase and buried it in bushland.

The man claimed the 21-year-old had died accidentally after the pair engaged in rough sex that went too far.

A jury in November rejected that argument and found the man guilty.

The killer in the dock
The killer’s identity is suppressed under New Zealand law (Image: TVNZ)


Murder typically comes with a life sentence in New Zealand. Prosecutors successfully argued that the man must serve 17 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Lawyers Ian Brookie and Ron Mansfield who led the defence during his trial, had asked for their then-client to serve 12 years, later indicating he would appeal.

In sentencing, Justice Simon Moore told the defendant his actions amounted to “conduct that underscores a lack of empathy and sense of self-entitlement and objectification”.

After the sentencing, Grace’s mother Gillian Millane, spoke to the court via a video-link and told the man: “Grace wasn’t just my daughter. She was my friend. My very best friend.

“I am absolutely heartbroken that you have taken my daughter’s future and robbed us of so many memories that we were going to create.”

Det Insp Scott Beard of Auckland City Police said the death was “senseless and needless”.

Grace Millane
Ms Millane was last seen alive on the eve of her 22nd birthday (Image: Millane Family)


Ms Millane, from Wickford in Essex, met her killer on a dating app while travelling in Auckland in December 2018.

The pair spent the evening drinking before returning to the man’s room in the CityLife hotel in central Auckland where he killed her.

He then disposed of her body by burying it in a suitcase in the Waitākere Ranges, a mountainous area outside the city.

He was found guilty of murder last year.


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