The man found guilty of murdering Grace Millane is appealing his conviction and sentence of at least 17 years in prison.
The man convicted of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane will have his appeal against conviction and prison sentence heard on Thursday.
The 28-year-old, who has name suppression, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years following a trial in November 2019.
He will be represented by his new lawyer, Rachael Reed QC, at the Court of Appeal.
Grace, 21, died sometime between December 1 and 2, 2018 after she went on a Tinder date with the man in Auckland’s CBD.
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At his trial, the man denied murdering Grace and claimed her death was a tragic accident after the pair had rough sex at his apartment.
But the Crown said the man strangled Grace for between five and 10 minutes before taking intimate photographs and watching pornography.
In the following days he set about covering his tracks, including burying Grace’s body in a shallow grave in the Wait?kere Ranges in West Auckland.
After a three week-long trial at the High Court at Auckland, the jurors took just over five hours to deliver their verdict of guilty.
At his sentencing in February, the man’s then-lawyer Ian Brookie said his client maintained his innocence.
But High Court Justice Simon Moore said Grace was vulnerable as she trusted the man enough to go into his room and engage in intimate physical activity.
“You were a large powerful man, she was diminutive … you were in a position of total physical dominance.”
Millane’s lifeless body was in the room when the man searched and accessed pornographic websites on his phone, Justice Moore said.
“You took grossly intrusive intimate photos.”
The killer’s sense of self-entitlement and his objectification of Grace’s body showed his high degree of callousness, Justice Moore said.
Gillian Millane, the mother of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane, addresses her daughter’s killer at his sentencing at the High Court in Auckland.
A psychologist had found the man was at “very high risk” of reoffending, he said. No mental health issues had been diagnosed at the time of his sentencing.
Grace’s family, including her mother Gillian, brother Declan and sister-in-law Victoria, read their victim impact statements to the court at sentencing via a video link from their home in Essex, England.
The three told the court their lives had been ripped apart by Grace’s death.
“No life sentence you receive today will match the life sentence without my Grace. But I will do my utmost to ensure that any other family will not go through what we have endured,” Gillian told the man.
“You have ripped a hole in my heart, one that will never be repaired.”