The mum of British backpacker Grace Millane shared a heartbreaking statement while confronting her daughter's killer in court today.
The 28-year-old murderer was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 17 years at Auckland High Court for her murder in New Zealand in 2018.
Addressing the convicted killer in court, Gillian recalled the "agonising pain" her family underwent following Grace's disappearance.
As she sat next to a photograph of her 21-year-old daughter on a video-link from London, Gillian said: "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.
"The tears I shed are never-ending at the thought of never having the chance to kiss my Grace goodbye."
The killer, who still remains unnamed in the media, held his head in his hands as he listened to the impact his actions have had on Grace's family.
Grace, from Wickford in Essex, met her killer on the dating app while travelling in Auckland. Despite her killer initially telling police the pair parted ways at the SkyCity bar, CCTV footage showed during the trial that Grace went back to the man's apartment.
There, Grace was strangled to death during sex. The court heard how the murderer stored the 21-year-old's body in a suitcase while he went out on another date, and later buried in bushland on the outskirts of Auckland.
During the delivery of the sentence today (the morning of February 21 New Zealand time, evening of February 20 UK time), Justice Simon Moore said: "You are a large and powerful man, she was diminutive. You were in a position of total physical dominance."
The killer will most likely remain anonymous until 2021 due to a temporary suppression order that withholds his public identification until routes of appeal have been exhausted.
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