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  1. ITV Report

DNA found in suspect’s apartment likely to be Grace Millane’s

The suspect 'cleaned up blood' in the apartment Credit: ITV News Anglia

DNA found in the apartment of the 27-year-old defendant is most likely to be Grace Millane’s, a court in New Zealand has heard.

Scientific testing showed that blood found on the fridge in the apartment is 500,000 million times more likely to belong to Ms Millane than anyone else.

Dianne Crenfeldt, from the institute of Environmental Science and Research, told the jury that she had located two circular probably blood stains between the suspect’s bed and a wardrobe.

Forensic Experts said that there was evidence of attempts to clean this blood up, which the defendant had already told the police about.

"The shape of the probable blood staining and the presence of blood on the floor provided strong support that clean up of blood had occurred in this area."

– Dianne Crenfeldt, Scientist

On Thursday the jury were shown security footage which showed Ms Millane, who was on ab around-the-world trip, visited city centre bars with the accused where they drank alcohol. They were on a Tinder date.

They 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.

Ms Millane was shown to follow the defendant out of the lift at just before 10pm. It was the last time she was seen alive.

Grace Millane had messaged her friend "I click with him so well" about the man who went on a date with her.

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. She said in the messages, Ms Millane admitted she wanted to "get smashed" with the man she met on Tinder.

The Crown has alleged that the man, who cannot be named due to a suppression order, strangled the young woman from Wickford, Essex who was found in a suitcase that had been buried in a forested area outside of Aukland.

The defence claims the death, on either December 1 or December 2 last year, the date of Ms Millane's 22nd birthday, was an accident during consensual sex.

Toxicologist Diana Kappatos said testing showed no illicit or prescribed drugs and the presence of 106 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood in the deceased's body, double the legal limit for drivers in New Zealand.

But Ms Kappatos said that microbial action after death may have increased or decreased the concentration of alcohol in Ms Millane's body.

Gillian Millane, the mother of the deceased woman, 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 showed intimate photos of a woman's body, the detective said, which the Crown has alleged were taken of Ms Millane after her death.

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.

Additionally, 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 before going 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.