British backpacker murder trial shown CCTV of 'killer carrying suitcase with her body inside'

Harry Cockburn
The prosecution alleges Grace Millane's body was inside a suitcase seen in CCTV footage being wheeled into a lift and out to a car at the hotel the suspect was living in

A jury in New Zealand has been shown footage of a man accused of murdering a 21-year-old British backpacker wheeling a suitcase allegedly containing her body through a hotel and loading it into a car.

Grace Millane, from Wickford in Essex, died the day before her 22nd birthday after going on a Tinder date in Auckland, New Zealand, with the 27-year-old murder suspect whose identity has been withheld by the courts.

The man has denied her murder.

The jury in Auckland High Court was also shown footage of the suspect’s first police interviews, in which he gave accounts of his actions and whereabouts that are inconsistent with CCTV recordings from various locations.

CCTV showed him on a date with Millane the day before he was filmed leaving the hotel carrying two large suitcases.

Prosecutors claim Millane’s body was inside one of them, The New Zealand Herald reports.

The suitcase containing her body was found on 9 December last year, buried in woods outside the city.

The court also saw photographs of the woodland site where the shallow grave containing the suitcase was found.

The prosecution alleges that on the night of 1 December last year, the accused strangled Millane to death in his hotel room after the pair spent the evening together.

He then stuffed Millane’s naked body into a suitcase and dumped it in the shallow grave in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges, the court was told.

The defendant, who had claimed in police interviews to have parted ways with Millane earlier in the night, subsequently claimed the 21-year-old woman died after they had engaged in rough consensual sex.

The court was also shown CCTV footage of the man buying one of the suitcases, a shovel, cleaning products, bringing a carpet cleaning machine into the hotel and driving a hire car.

“It’s crazy how guys can make one wrong move and go to jail for the rest of their life,” he allegedly told her.

“He seemed to have empathy with this man that he knew,” she told the court.

She said the man had texted her later and written: “Hey, I had a really great time. I’d like to do it again.”

“I said, ‘No thank you, I wouldn’t,’” she added.

The trial continues.

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