Grace Millane laughs in CCTV with Tinder date just hours before ‘he strangled her to death’

The court in the trial of a man suspected of murdering backpacker Grace Millane have seen video of her final hours (Picture: PA)
The court in the trial of a man suspected of murdering backpacker Grace Millane have seen video of her final hours (Picture: PA)

The jury in the murder trial of British backpacker Grace Millane have been shown footage of her final hours alive.

In the video clips, Grace, 22, is seen enjoying a Tinder date with the man now accused of her murder.

Prosecutors say the suspect took her back to his apartment in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, where he strangled her to death.

His defence lawyers argue she died during consensual rough sex.

The court watched 30 minutes of footage pieced together by police from a chain of CCTV cameras covering central Auckland that almost followed the entire date.

Jurors were also shown pictures of the inside of the apartment room where Grace was allegedly murdered.

Blood-stains on the carpet were highlighted next to an unmade bed, with clothes scattered around the room.

Undated handout photo issued by Auckland City Police showing the apartment of a 27-year-old male accused of murdering Grace Millane. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 7, 2019. The male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons is on trial accused of strangling the British backpacker from Wickford, Essex, during rough sexual intercourse at his apartment in the centre of the city on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Auckland City Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
A photo issued by Auckland City Police showing the apartment of the defendant accused of murdering Grace Millane (Picture: PA)
Undated handout photo issued by Auckland City Police showing the use of luminol to highlight the alleged blood stains on the floor of the apartment of a 27-year-old male accused of murdering Grace Millane. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 7, 2019. The male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons is on trial accused of strangling the British backpacker from Wickford, Essex, during rough sexual intercourse at his apartment in the centre of the city on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Auckland City Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Police used luminol to highlight alleged blood stains on the floor of the apartment (Picture: PA)

Grace’s parents David and Gill Millane, from Wickford in Essex, watched as the court was shown CCTV of Grace taking a picture of a Christmas tree.

Advertisement

Advertisement

She sent that exact picture to her parents as she waited to meet her alleged killer for the first time. It was the final message Grace sent to her family before her death.

Jurors first saw a clip from 5.11pm on 1 December last year, the eve of Grace’s 22nd birthday, when the defendant was seen entering the Bluestone Room bar.

Half an hour later, Grace – in a black dress and white trainers – was filmed leaving the Base backpackers’ hostel where she was staying.

A detective in the case told the court the defendant – in a pale shirt and jeans – had bought four bottles of Heineken at the Bluestone Room.

Grace was filmed arriving at the SkyCity hotel and casino, before taking a picture of its 20 foot tall Christmas tree, at 5.45pm.

Grabs - Grace Millane goes to killer's hotel room No credit
Grace Millane is seen arm-in-arm with the defendant on the night before her death
Grabs - Grace Millane goes to killer's hotel room No credit
At around 9.40pm on 1 December, Grace was last seen on CCTV at the defendant’s apartment
Grabs - Grace Millane goes to killer's hotel room No credit
The last time Grace is seen is inside the defendant’s hotel lift

Detective Bicknell, said she can be seen using her phone to take the picture she sent her parents 45 minutes later.

After a short time the defendant walks into view and gives Grace a hug before they both walk into the casino together.

The CCTV footage captured the pair visiting a number of bars around the city before one final clip, filmed inside the lift in the defendant’s apartment building.

Recorded at 9.41pm, it shows Grace leaving the lift and heading towards the alleged killer’s apartment.

Advertisement

Advertisement

It is the last time she is seen alive.

Detective Adam Bicknell told the jury he had been in charge of tracing Grace and her alleged killer’s movements through the city as part of Operation Gourami, the code name for the police investigation into her disappearance.

His team had looked at hundreds of hours of film captured over six days, he said.

As well as the CCTV, police combed the accused’s room for clues and took pictures.

One image shown to the jury features the white substance Luminol, which police scientists use to show swathes of blood on the carpet – revealing the room’s carpet was soaked with it.

Grace’s mother walked out of the courtroom in tears as graphic details were given of evidence detectives had found on the accused’s mobile phone, including intimate pictures of her naked body.

Grace Millane goes on dates with killer
The couple visited a few bars around Auckland before returning to the defendant’s apartment
Grabs - Grace Millane goes to killer's hotel room No credit
Police trawled hours of CCTV footage to piece together Grace’s final moments
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout file photo issued by the Lucie Blackman Trust of Grace Millane, 22, who was killed in New Zealand in December 2018. Ms Millane's father wiped aside a tear as he heard his daughter's body was found twisted inside a suitcase "in the foetal position" a week after the British backpacker went missing. PA Photo. Issue date: Wednesday November 6, 2019. The young woman from Wickford, Essex, was on a round-the-world trip when she arrived in New Zealand last November and went on a Tinder date with the man now accused of her murder. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Lucie Blackman Trust/PA Wire
Grace, 22, was found a week after going missing (Picture: PA)
Undated handout photo issued by Auckland City Police of a suitcase found in the apartment of a 27-year-old male accused of murdering Grace Millane. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 7, 2019. The male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons is on trial accused of strangling the British backpacker from Wickford, Essex, during rough sexual intercourse at his apartment in the centre of the city on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Auckland City Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
A suitcase found in the defendant’s apartment (Picture: PA)
Undated handout photo issued by Auckland City Police of a mobile phone found in the apartment of a 27-year-old male accused of murdering Grace Millane. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 7, 2019. The male defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons is on trial accused of strangling the British backpacker from Wickford, Essex, during rough sexual intercourse at his apartment in the centre of the city on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday. See PA story COURTS Millane. Photo credit should read: Auckland City Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Grace’s mother walked out of court as detectives revealed pictures found on the accused’s mobile phone included intimate pictures of Grace’s naked body (Picture: PA)

The court also heard from one of Grace’s Lincoln University friends, Ameena Ashcroft, who she text while on the date to say she ‘just clicked’ with her alleged killer.

Advertisement

In a statement read out at Auckland High Court, Ameena, who was in Dubai at the time, said alarm bells rang when Grace told her she and her date were drinking heavily, saying: ‘He was like it’s birthday tomorrow we are getting smashed.’

Thinking it was the man’s own birthday, Grace’s friend told police she had thought that to get very drunk ‘is a weird thing to do with someone you don’t really know’.

An hour later, Grace told her the date was going ‘really good’, telling her: ‘Literally I click with him so well.’

Grace’s final hours on 1 December 2018

5.11pm: The defendant is seen entering the Bluestone Room bar

5.37pm: Grace is filmed leaving the Base backpackers’ hostel and walking through the streets to SkyCity

5.45pm: Grace arrives at SkyCity

A short time later the defendant arrives before they both walk into the casino together

Police said they headed to Andy’s Burger Bar inside SkyCity where the jury of seven women and five men saw that he and Grace ordered drinks and found a table

7.12pm: The couple leave the burger bar and walk through the casino atrium and down the escalator back onto the street

They cross the road and spend the next half an hour at a Mexican cafe, until the defendant is seen paying the bill with Grace standing beside him

They had shared two jugs of margheritas and one of sangria

8.27pm: The pair were filmed walking in the street before heading into the Bluestone Room where the defendant had earlier been drinking alone

They spent an hour drinking at a small table and the CCTV captures them both kissing

9.37pm: The couple leave the bar

9.40pm: They are filmed hugging as they enter the CityLife hotel, where the defendant had an apartment, and head into the lift.

Yesterday, prosecutors told the court in New Zealand that Grace was strangled to death during rough sexual intercourse.

Advertisement

He then searched for porn online and took photos of Grace’s dead body before he went on a second Tinder date, prosecutors said.

The defence claims Grace’s death was accidental.

Prosecutors argue records show the accused killer had searched online for ‘the hottest fire’, ‘large bags near me’ and ‘Waitakere Ranges’ – where Grace’s body was later found.

Grace Millane ***Taken from FB without permission*** Mystery surrounds disappearance of British tourist, Grace Millane, 22, who never made it back to her Auckland hostal after celebrating her birthday five days ago
Grace, from Essex, was killed on or just before her 22nd birthday
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 06: Grace Millane's parents David (C) and Gillian (R) arrive with Detective Inspector Scott Beard (L) at Auckland High Court on November 06, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. A 27 year old man is charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane, whose body was found in bush in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on 9 December 2018. There is currently a suppression order in place, prohibiting the publication of the accused's name. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
Grace’s parents David and Gillian at Auckland High Court on 6 November (Picture: Getty)

He went on a second Tinder date on 2 December before hiring a professional cleaning service.

Grace’s remains were found twisted inside a suitcase in the foetal position in a shallow grave on 9 December, the court heard.

The trial continues.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Source

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Related posts

Leave a Comment