- Warning: This story contains upsetting details.
- British backpacker Grace Millane, 21, died after a Tinder date with a man in Auckland, New Zealand, last December. Her body was found in woodland outside the city a week later.
- The 27-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is now being tried for her murder. He has denied murdering her, insisting she died by accident after he choked her consensually during sex.
- The man has given many contradictory statements to police during the investigation.
- In a police interview shown to the court on Thursday, the man admitted to buying a new suitcase, putting Millane’s body into it, and burying it in woodland the day after her death, multiple outlets reported.
- He also said on the morning after his date with Millane, he had arranged for a Tinder date with another woman, and left Millane’s body in the suitcase while he went on it, the BBC and Sky News reported.
- He also told police he attempted suicide by overdose after burying Millane’s body, the BBC, The Guardian, and The Times of London reported.
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The man accused of murdering a British backpacker after a Tinder date in New Zealand told police that he arranged another date while she lay dead beside him.
The 27-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had gone on a date with Grace Millane in Auckland on December 1, 2018, the night before her 22nd birthday. Her body was found, intact, eight days later in dense woodland outside the city.
The suspect is currently facing trial at the Auckland High Court. He has repeatedly denied murdering her, insisting that she died by accident after he choked her consensually during sex in his hotel room.
In court testimony last week, a forensic pathologist attributed the cause of Millane’s death to “pressure to the neck,” adding that it would have been sustained for four or five minutes, with force, to cause the amount of deep internal bruising she had been found with, Sky News reported.
Photos of the crime scene, published by The Sun, showed a bloody carpet in the hotel room.
The man has given numerous contradictory statements to the police throughout the investigation.
In early police interviews the man said that he left Millane after their date at 8 p.m., before getting drunk with his friends and blacking out until 10 a.m. the next day, Sky News reported.
But surveillance footage from the day they met showed the pair entering his hotel at 9:40 p.m.
Videos from the day after also showed the man buying a suitcase at 8 a.m., taking it back to his hotel, renting a car, and leaving with two suitcases at 9 p.m. that night. Prosecutors say Millane’s body was in one of those cases.
On Thursday, the court saw another police interview in which the suspect gave a totally different story.
He told police that after he and Millane had sex, he fell asleep on the floor of his shower and went back to bed, thinking Millane had left the room, Sky News reported. He said he did not see her lying on the floor, the news network reported.
Before 8 a.m. the next morning he was arranging another Tinder date for that afternoon, he said, according to Sky News.
He also said he “panicked” after finding her not breathing and with “blood coming from her nose” the next morning, the BBC reported. It’s not clear whether he said he started arranging for the date or saw Millane first.
He then told police he started dialling for an ambulance, “but I didn’t hit the button because I was scared how bad it looked,” he said, as cited by Sky News.
He then recalled trying to put her body into the suitcase, and leaving the body “half in half out of the suitcase” in his hotel room while he went to buy bleach, and again while he went his Tinder date, the BBC reported.
“I spewed up a few times because I couldn’t put Grace in the bag because all I could think about was what we shared the night before,” he said, according to Sky News.
“I put her in the bag and was I was saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,'” he added, according to the BBC and Sky News. He then admitted to taking her body to woodland outside the city and burying her, Sky News reported.
“I sat there and I took 20, 30 paracetamol tablets because I didn’t want to be around if Grace wasn’t there, and I didn’t feel like I deserved to be around, because of what happened,” he told police, according to The Guardian.
In that interview the suspect also admitted to and apologised for misleading police previously, Sky News reported. “I want her family to know that it wasn’t intentional but I also want her family to have closure,” he told his lawyer at the time, according to Sky News.
Prosecutors have suggested that the man knew that Millane was dead the night before, according to Sky News. They say the man Googled “Waitakere Ranges,” the woodland where she was later buried, and “hottest fire” that night, Sky News reported.
Prosecutors also say, citing his phone search history, that he had looked up and watched hardcore pornography while she was dead in the room, Sky News said.
The woman with whom he went on the date on December 2, the day after his date with Millane, told the court earlier this week that the man had calmly discussed and empathized with a man who was jailed for manslaughter after accidentally killing a woman during rough sex, the BBC and MailOnline reported.
“It’s crazy how guys can make one wrong move and go to jail for the rest of their life,” she told the court, according to MailOnline.
A previous Tinder date also told the Auckland court the man was “a sociopath,” and described fighting for her life while he tried to suffocate her during oral sex, Sky News reported.
The suspect’s lawyer accused her of making up her story “to portray him in the worst possible light,” the news network reported.
The trial is set to continue for another few weeks, The Guardian reported. It’s not yet clear if the man will testify in court.
- Read more:
- Video shows New Zealand man accused of murdering 21-year-old backpacker on a Tinder date moving a suitcase said to contain her body
- Murdered backpacker Grace Millane’s father took part in a Maori blessing at site where her body was found in New Zealand
- A college student in New Zealand died in his dorm room and it took nearly two months for anyone to notice
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