Grace Millane: British backpacker killed during sex ‘was not involved in struggle’, pathologist tells court

Chiara Giordano
Grace Millane, 22, from Essex, who was killed in New Zealand in December 2018: Lucie Blackman Trust/PA

A British backpacker was killed during consensual sex and showed no evidence she was involved in a struggle, a forensic pathologist who gave evidence on behalf of the man accused of her murder has told a court.

Grace Millane, from Wickford, Essex, was travelling in Auckland, New Zealand, when she was allegedly murdered in December 2018 after going on a date with a 27-year-old man she met on Tinder.

The Crown prosecutor has alleged that the man, who cannot be named due to a suppression order, strangled her and shoved her body inside a suitcase before burying her in a forested area outside Auckland.

However, forensic pathologist Dr Fintan Garavan appeared via audio-visual link in Auckland High Court and said there was “no evidence to injuries of deeper haemorrhaging” in Ms Millane’s death, reported Stuff, the New Zealand website.

Radio New Zealand quoted the doctor as saying a bruise found on Ms Millane’s neck was not located in deep tissue, which along with further bruising on her chest and arms showed the injuries were the result of consensual activity.

He told the court: “In my expert opinion, if a non-consensual act has taken place, the victim is under attack or resisting attack, they struggle.

“It’s that action, the struggle or struggling between an aggressor and a recipient, that gives rise to such injuries.”

Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey challenged Dr Garavan about whether the pathology report could show the presence or absence of consent, to which Radio New Zealand said the doctor replied that the absence of other injuries had given him reason to pause.

Dr Garavan also said alcohol could “very well” have been a secondary contributing factor in Ms Millane’s death.

The court earlier heard Ms Millane had profiles on BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission) websites.

The court also heard evidence from a former partner of Ms Millane’s who said the pair practised choking and rough play.

Security footage played earlier in the trial showed Ms Millane and the defendant drinking at a number of bars before kissing repeatedly at the Bluestone Room then walking arm in arm a short distance into the lobby of the CityLife hotel where the defendant was staying.

Ms Millane was shown to follow the defendant out of a lift at 9.41pm.

It was the last time she was seen alive.

The defence is expected to finish presenting its case on Wednesday.

The trial continues.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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