Grace Millane’s body discovered in West Auckland

The body of missing British backpacker Grace Millane has been found by police in the Waitakere Ranges today. 

Police made the discovery following a scene examination of a bush area on Scenic Dr, in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges, on Sunday afternoon.

Formal identification had not yet taken place but police said they believed the body was Millane’s and the search for her had come to an end.

On Saturday evening, police announced they would charge a 26-year-old man with her murder.

Miss Millane, 22, from Essex – described by her father as “lovely” and”family-orientated” – was last seen in New Zealand a week ago.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard of Auckland City Police said police had gathered evidence on Saturday that had “established this is a homicide”.

He said Millane’s family had been told and they were “devastated”.

“We know that he [the 26-year-old man] was with her on the Saturday evening and went to a number of places before going to the City Life Hotel.” 

 He will remain in police custody until Monday morning when he will appear in the Auckland District Court.

A full scene examination is underway in a bush area on Scenic Drive.

Police said this was a methodical and slow process and is expected to take all day.

Police continue to search the CityLife apartment where Millane was last seen at 9.41pm on December 1, and are sifting through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

They are also examining a “vehicle of interest”, which was seized on Saturday, and are trying to find out where it had recently travelled.

Beard said he had no evidence to suggest Millane knew the man before Saturday night but detectives knew they were together from the time she was captured on CCTV footage at SkyCity to the time she was seen at the CityLife Hotel.

Asked if the pair met on dating app Tinder, Beard said he would not speculate.

The police priority would be tracking the vehicle’s movements with GPS or using cellphone towers – which was possible even if the mobile phones of those in it were switched off, he revealed.

Police said they were determined to return Millane to her family, who had earlier spread word across the world of the talented artist and university graduate’s disappearance when her daily social media contact stopped the night before her 22nd birthday last Sunday.

Millane’s father David, a millionaire property developer, then flew to New Zealand early on Friday.

The much-loved daughter and sister arrived in New Zealand on November 20, as part of a year-long, worldwide overseas experience that began earlier this year in South America, he told journalists.

A full road closure of Scenic Drive, between the intersection of Mountain Road/Scenic Drive and the Waitakere Reservoir Carpark, will be in place from 3pm until 7pm tonight.

Residents will be given access during this time.

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