- New Zealand police are looking for a shovel in connection with the murder of backpacker Grace Millane.
- The British 22-year-old went missing on December 1, and a body was found on Sunday.
- The police are looking for anyone who may have seen the shovel: “Someone may have come across it, picked it up and taken it home. We need to speak to that person or anyone who has seen it.”
- They refused to comment on how it may have been used, but said: “Grace’s body was intact when it was recovered.”
Police in New Zealand are looking for a shovel they believe was involved with the murder of 22-year-old British backpacker Grace Millane.
Millane, from the town of Wickford in southeastern England, was last seen in a hotel in Auckland on December 1. Police found a body that they believe is Millane’s on Sunday.
A 26-year-old man charged with her murder appeared in court on Monday.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said on Tuesday that detectives were looking for a shovel. He said they were searching an Atlas Trade “hardwood long handle, round mouth shovel,” and released a picture of a similar shovel.
Beard said: “Police would like to hear from anyone who may have found this item anytime after Monday 3 December.”
“At this point, we don’t know where this item is. It could be anywhere between the Scenic Drive and central Auckland areas,” he added. “Someone may have come across it, picked it up and taken it home. We need to speak to that person or anyone who has seen it.”
He did not say how the police believe it was involved in the killing. Beard added that there has been “a great deal of public speculation about what happened to Grace.”
“It is with great reluctance that I will only confirm the following, and say that Grace’s body was intact when it was recovered,” he said.
According to the BBC, Millane had been in New Zealand for around two weeks after finishing up a six-week group trip to South America. She had been travelling around the world after finishing her studies at the University of Lincoln.
The judge in the case, Evangelos Thomas, said in court on Monday that there would be no judgment that day, though he said he hoped that “justice for Grace is fair, swift and ultimately brings you some peace,” Radio NZ reported.
“There will be in all likelihood a number of procedural issues we need to deal with today. Those are all part and parcel of a process that has judgment as its end goal, not its starting point,” he said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also apologised to Millane’s family on Monday.
“From the Kiwis I have spoken to there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality … especially to those who are visiting our shores.”
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