Grace Millane: Backpacker’s murderer loses conviction and sentence appeal | #tinder | #pof

The man found guilty of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane has lost his appeal against his conviction and prison sentence – but he still can’t be named.

The 28-year-old, who now has name suppression until further court order, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years for the murder of Grace, 21, who was from Essex in the UK.

The graduate of England’s University of Lincoln died sometime between December 1 and 2, 2018 after she went on a Tinder date with the man in Auckland’s CBD.

The Crown, at trial, said the man strangled Grace for a prolonged period. The man denied murder and claimed her death was a tragic accident after the pair had consensual rough sex.

* Grace Millane’s killer launches last-ditch effort to keep his name secret
* Grace Millane: Backpacker’s killer appeals murder conviction and sentence
* Grace Millane: Backpacker’s killer takes case to Court of Appeal

On Friday, Justice Stephen Kos, Justice Patricia Courtney and Justice Mark Cooper released their decision and dismissed the man’s appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Earlier on Friday, the man successfully made a final attempt to keep his name a secret by appealing the Supreme Court.

The New Zealand media would then have been able to publish the 28-year-old’s name for the first time.

However, just three and-a-half hours before the Court of Appeal’s decision was to be released, the man’s lawyer filed a notice of an appeal.

At 10.50am, the Supreme Court ordered the man to have name suppression until a further order of the court.


Grace Millane’s father said they will return home to try to pick up the pieces of their lives. (First published November 2019)


At the Court of Appeal in August, the man’s lawyer, Rachael Reed QC, said there were four grounds on which the trial process had miscarried.

Those were how much emphasis was placed on the element of consent, expert evidence, the probability of death occurring from the strangulation, and the negative evidence given by other women about the man’s character.

Reed said no person could consent to their own death, but the jury should have considered whether Grace consented to the application of pressure to her neck, and whether the man exceeded the bounds of her consent.

“Did he have time to realise [consent] had occurred prior to her death and if he did, did he maintain an honest belief in consent at that time?

“Consent shouldn’t be removed just because someone has died,” she said.

Yvonne Wang and Rachael Reed QC (right) were the man's lawyer at the Court of Appeal.

Ryan Anderson/Stuff

Yvonne Wang and Rachael Reed QC (right) were the man’s lawyer at the Court of Appeal.

However, Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey maintained consent was not a defence to murder.

“What actual evidence was there to sustain the proposition this was an accidental death in a consensual sexual encounter?” he asked.

“Nowhere in [one of the defendant’s police interviews] does he link what he did to her death,” Dickey said.

“We have the most flimsy basis of consent.”

Grace Millane was backpacking in New Zealand before she was killed.


Grace Millane was backpacking in New Zealand before she was killed.


After Grace’s death, the killer took intimate photos of her body, searched for pornography and went on a Tinder date with another woman.

He then buried her in a shallow grave in West Auckland’s Wait?kere Ranges.

At trial, the man’s then-defence lawyer Ian Brookie said the pair had taken intimate photos of each other before Grace died.

However, at the Court of Appeal, Reed said the killer’s the actions after Grace’s death were “abhorrent”.

“I cannot [excuse his actions] as they are inexcusable,” Reed said.

Crown prosecutors Brian Dickey and Robin McCoubrey said the man’s sentence was correct.


Crown prosecutors Brian Dickey and Robin McCoubrey said the man’s sentence was correct.

During the trial, Justice Moore mistakenly found the bruising on Grace’s body was “significant” when evidence suggested it was not, Reed said.

Justice Moore also placed too much weight on the man’s degree of callousness, she said, claiming his actions after Grace’s death did not mean he was callous at the time of her death.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said the killer deserved his minimum 17-year sentence.

“A woman can’t be more exposed at that point in which she’s engaging in sexual relations, she was particularly vulnerable,” McCoubrey said.

“You’re involved in the most intimate activity … the last thing on your mind is that you’re about to be murdered by your sexual partner.”

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