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Body of 22yo UK backpacker found in NZ, & more in News in 5.

-With AAP

1. Last month, Grace Millane arrived in New Zealand as part of a year-long trip. Yesterday, her body was found.


A 26-year-old man, the last to see British backpacker Grace Millane alive, will appear in court in Auckland on Monday charged with her murder.

Millane was on the second leg of a year-long trip around the world after graduating university when she disappeared on December 1.

After visiting Peru, she arrived alone in New Zealand on November 20 and had been in touch with family and friends nearly daily until her disappearance.

The week-long search for Millane turned into a homicide investigation this weekend, with officers saying a scene examination at the CityLife Hotel and video footage had concluded she was no longer alive.

Officers on Sunday were combing an area of bush near a road in the western outskirts of Auckland – about 25km from where the 22-year-old tourist was last spotted entering a central city hotel with a 26-year-old man on December 1.

Shortly after 4pm on Sunday, police found a body they believe to be Millane in vegetation around 10m from the road.

Remains found at the scene had not been formally identified but were believed to be those of Millane, Detective Inspector Scott Beard told the media on Sunday afternoon.

“Obviously, this brings the search for Grace to an end. It is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them,” he told reporters near the scene.

“The investigation will continue for some time yet. The focus now is to piece together exactly what happened to a young girl who came to New Zealand.”

A post-mortem is expected to be carried out on Monday.

“We will be pleased to be giving Grace back to her family,” Det Insp Beard said.

Police said a 26-year-old man seen with Ms Millane on the night of her disappearance had been charged with her murder and would appear in Auckland District Court on Monday.

Detectives have made an appeal for sightings of a red Toyota hatchback they say was rented in Auckland on December 2.

Her father, David Millane, arrived in NZ on Friday, and made an emotional public appeal for help in finding Grace, who he described as a “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter”.

2. A five-year-old boy has died in front of his family during a boating tragedy.

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A five-year-old boy has drowned in a tragic boating accident in central Victoria.

The boy was spending the day out on the water with his parents and siblings at Lake Eildon in Bonnie Doon when it is believed he fell from the boat.

Though he was wearing a life jacket, the boy was trapped under the hull and sustained cuts and injuries from colliding with the boat’s propeller.

His father managed to pull him to the back of the boat and performed CPR on his son with the help of a triple-0 operator.

“Ultimately, the family were doing the right thing,” Sergeant Matt Bennett from Victoria Police told 9News.

“They were performing CPR when we arrived.

“We took over from them but they were doing everything that was expected of them.”

An air ambulance was on its way but was turned around after the boy died at the public boat ramp.

Police say the family were regular holidaymakers at Bonnie Doon and were no doubt planning to return for the Christmas break.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

3. Hayne in court over alleged sexual assault.

NRL player Jarryd Hayne is due to face court over the alleged sexual assault of a woman in NSW.

Hayne, 30, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and inflicting actual bodily harm after he handed himself into Ryde police station in November.

A woman claims she suffered injuries during a sexual encounter with Hayne in the Hunter Valley and that she had photographs to back up her story.

It’s understood the alleged victim was interviewed by the NRL’s integrity unit before the matter was referred to police.

Police allege the assault of the 26-year-old woman took place in a Hunter region home on September 30.

The one-time NFL player has been on strict bail including the condition he report to Ryde police station every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday between 8am and 8pm.

He’s also handed over his passport and a $20,000 surety, and agreed to stay away from the complainant and the Newcastle local government area.

Hayne is expected to appear at Burwood Local Court on Monday.

4. Lawsuits allege torture of asylum seekers.

Two class actions have been launched in the High Court on the behalf of asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

The parallel lawsuits on behalf of asylum seekers transferred to Manus Island and Nauru by the Australian government have been initiated by the National Justice Project and lawyer Julian Burnside QC.

The suits cover 1200 asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and the plaintiffs allege they have been subjected to “torture, crimes against humanity and the intentional infliction of harm by the Australian government”, the NJP said in a statement on Monday.

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5. Sydney rave death renews pill testing call.

Another Sydney music festival death has renewed calls for pill testing at major events but the NSW premier is standing firm against the measure.

A 19-year-old man died in Concord Hospital early on Sunday while two women, aged 19 and 25, and a man are in critical but stable conditions at Westmead Hospital after suspected drug overdoses at the Knockout Games of Destiny dance party at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday night.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said it was another “senseless” death and pleaded with young people who he says aren’t getting the message about drugs.

Police officers at the festival issued 69 banning notices and conducted more than 200 searches, with 62 people found in possession of drugs including one woman who was found with nearly 400 tablets internally concealed.

Police charged several people, including a 25-year-old man who was allegedly found with 145 MDMA capsules in his possession.

Earlier this year, two people died after overdosing at Sydney music festival Defqon.1, prompting the creation of an expert panel to advise the NSW government on drug-related deaths at festivals.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday said she was beside herself that young people weren’t getting the message.

Asked if it was time to reconsider the government’s position on pill testing, Ms Berejiklian said no because it could give people a “green light” to taking substances.

Drug law reform campaign Take Control called on the state government to introduce pill testing with spokesman Matt Noffs saying while it’s not a silver bullet, it’s a good solution.

NSW Labor has promised to hold a drug summit in 2019 if the party is elected to government at the state election in March.

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