Man to be charged with murder of British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand

A 26-year-old man is to be charged with the murder of Grace Millane, police said (Picture: PA)

A man is to be charged with the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane, police said.

New Zealand Police said a 26-year-old man has been speaking with officers in Auckland in relation to the disappearance of the 22-year-old, who went missing from a hostel in Auckland on December 1.

He will remain in custody until Monday morning when he will appear in the Auckland District Court, police said.

Earlier police announced that their investigation had become a murder enquiry, despite Grace’s body not being found, but Detective Inspector Scott Beard said they were “determined to do everything we can to find her”.

Grace’s father described her as a “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter” (Picture: PA)

Grace, who turned 22 on Sunday, had arrived in New Zealand on November 20 as part of a round-the-world trip.

She had been in contact with her family nearly every day until December 1, the day before her birthday.

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The last confirmed sighting of the 22-year-old was at 9.41pm the same day at the Citylife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a “male companion”.

Grace’s father David Millane described her as a “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter”.