MAN FOUND GUILTY OF GRACE MILLANE MURDER
A 27-year-old man has been found guilty of the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane.
Her body was found buried in a suitcase in New Zealand, local media reported.
The young woman from Wickford, Essex, was strangled by the man she had met on dating site Tinder and with whom she spent several hours drinking in the centre of Auckland on December 1, 2018.
The pair returned to his apartment and Ms Millane was killed either that night or in the early hours of the next morning - the date of her 22nd birthday.
The jury of seven women and five men returned a unanimous verdict after just five hours deliberation at Auckland High Court.
The Crown successfully argued the murderer, whose name is subject to a suppression order, shoved Ms Millane's body inside a suitcase before burying her in the Waitakere Ranges outside the city.
She was assumed missing and her father, David Millane, flew to New Zealand as local authorities spent a week searching until her body was found by police.
Justice Simon Moore told jury members before they delivered their verdict that they had to be certain the man had murderous intent, as defined by the Crimes Act, when he put his hands on Ms Millane's neck during sexual intercourse to convict him of murder, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Mr Millane and Grace's mother, Gillian Millane, wept after the verdict was read out, Nine Media's Stuff website reported.
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.
Several jurors also cried after the verdict was delivered.Published: by Radio NewsHub