1. ITV Report

CCTV shows Grace Millane and alleged killer on date in final hours before her death

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent John Ray

CCTV played during the murder trial of Grace Millane shows the British backpacker's final movements in the hours before her death.

Security footage played for the jury showed Ms Millane, who was on a round-the-world trip, visit a number of bars in the city centre with the 27-year-old who is accused of her murder.

The defendant denies murder.

Footage shows the pair kissed repeatedly at the Bluestone Room before walking arm-in-arm a short distance into the lobby of the CityHigh hotel where the defendant was staying in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ms Millane was shown to follow the defendant out of the lift at 9.41pm.

It was the last time she was seen alive.

The court was also told Ms Millane messaged her friend to say “I click with him so well” about the man she was on a date with who allegedly strangled her hours later, the court in New Zealand heard.

Ms Millane’s friend, Ameena Ashcroft, said in a letter read to Auckland High Court that she “thought something was out of place” when the young woman sent a series of messages on December 1, 2018, in which Ms Millane admitted to wanting to “get smashed” with the man she met on dating app Tinder.

CCTV shows Grace Millane and the defendant hours before her death. Credit: New Zealand Police/TVNZ/APTN

The Crown has alleged that the man, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, murdered the young woman from Wickford, Essex, and put her body inside a suitcase before burying her in a forested area outside Auckland.

The defence claims the death, on either December 1 or December 2, 2018, the date of Ms Millane’s 22nd birthday, was accidental and he denies murder.

Footage shows Ms Millane and the defendant kissing in a bar. Credit: New Zealand Police/TVNZ/APTN

Gillian Millane, Ms Millane's mother, left the court in tears as detective Samuel Luker described a series of photographs found on the defendant’s phone.

Those photographs taken in the early hours of December 2, 2018 showed intimate photos of a woman’s body, the detective said, which the Crown has alleged were taken of Ms Millane after her death.

Grace Millane was on a trip around the world when she arrived in New Zealand. Credit: Lucie Blackman Trust/PA

The defendant, wearing a navy blue suit and black shirt, did not react as Gillian Millane walked out of the courtroom.

David Millane looked directly at the defendant as the detective confirmed pornography was looked at on the man’s phone after his daughter’s death.

But he cast his eyes down when he heard the defendant had searched online for “rigor mortis”.

The data showed the man had used Google to browse websites for large duffel bags, suitcases and car hire.

The defendant’s phone was also used to search for “flesh-eating birds” and “are there vultures in New Zealand?” days later, on December 5, 2018.

Records showed the defendant had searched online for “the hottest fire”, “large bags near me” and “Waitakere Ranges” – where Ms Millane’s body was later found inside a suitcase on December 9, 2018 – and the court was told he had gone on another Tinder date later that day.

Her parents had wept in court as they heard that earrings and a small metal tag inscribed with the word “freedom” were also found inside the suitcase.

The trial continues and is expected to last five weeks.