Murdered Grace Millane's father fights off tears as he says her killer's conviction 'will not reduce the pain'

Sean Morrison

The parents of Grace Millane, David and Gillian Millane speak to media outside Auckland High Court after their daughter's killer was convicted (Getty Images)

Grace Millane’s father fought off tears as he described how the guilty verdict handed to his daughter’s killer “will not reduce the pain” the family has endured.

David Millane said the British backpacker, who was murdered after a Tinder date while traveling in New Zealand, was “taken in the most brutal fashion”.

Speaking after a 27-year-old man was convicted of murdering the young woman, he said the guilty verdict will be welcomed by the entire family and also the friends of Miss Millane.

Giving a statement outside Auckland High Court following the verdict on Friday, he continued: “It will not reduce the pain and suffering we have had to endure over the past year.

"Grace was taken in the most brutal fashion a year ago and our lives have been ripped apart… Grace was our sunshine and she will be missed forever."

Miss Millane’s killer stuffed her body in a suitcase, which was later found buried in forest near Auckland, after strangling her to death following their date on December 1 last year - the day before her 22nd birthday.

The murderer had claimed Miss Millane, from Wickford in Essex, died accidentally during "rough sex" after their Tinder date.

But jurors at Auckland's High Court found the defendant guilty of her murder following the two-week trial. The decision, which came after about five hours of deliberation, was unanimous.

Grace Millane, 22, was murdered in New Zealand in December 2018 (PA)

Miss Millane's father and her mother, Gillian Millane, wept after the verdict was delivered.

The couple have sat in the public gallery since the trial began on November 4, during which time they have been accompanied by Detective Scott Beard, who led the search for their daughter.

Grace Millane inside a hotel lift with the 27-year-old man who later murdered her (PA)

The killer stood emotionless, flanked by two corrections officers, as the verdict was read out. He was remanded to custody until his sentencing on February 21.

The Crown successfully argued the man, whose name is subject to a suppression order, strangled Miss Millane to death and shoved her body inside a suitcase before burying her in a forested area outside Auckland.

She had been assumed missing and her father flew to New Zealand as local authorities spent a week searching until her body was found by police.

Speaking after the guilty verdict, Miss Millane’s father acknowledged the efforts of New Zealand's police, Det Insp Beard and thanked the prosecution team and the media.

"Finally we want to thank the people of New Zealand. I can't thank you enough for our your kindness and for opening your hearts to us," Mr Millane said.

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Man guilty of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane