news

In 2018, Grace Millane was murdered on a Tinder date. Today, her killer was sentenced to life in prison.

The man who murdered British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand has been sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 17 years.

The 28-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met Millane on a Tinder date in Auckland on the eve of her 22nd birthday on December 1, 2018.

Justice Simon Moore on Friday sentenced the killer to life in prison with a minimum parole period of 17 years at the Auckland High Court.

The court on Friday heard three victim impact statements via audio-visual link from Millane’s family in Essex. In total, 26 witness impact statements from Millane’s family and friends were received.

“How am I supposed to get out of bed, every day knowing that I won’t get to see my daughter?” her mother Gillian Millane asked, Stuff reported.

“I’ve become a person I don’t even recognise myself. I tormented myself everyday for what you did to my Grace.”

“I feel full of guilt knowing I couldn’t help her,” she said.

“She died, terrified and alone, in a room with you – you whose name isn’t even spoken by her family or friends.”

Grace Millane murderer
Grace's body lay in her killer's apartment while her murderer went on another Tinder date. Image: Facebook.
ADVERTISEMENT

The man was found guilty of strangling the 21-year-old in November 2019.

He had denied the charge and his defence claimed that the victim's death was an accident during a "perfectly ordinary" consensual casual sexual encounter between two young people.

During the three-week-trial jurors heard that the accused put Millane's body in a suitcase, rented a car and buried it in an area of bush about 25 kilometres from Auckland, where her body was found a week later.

The court also heard that the accused took intimate photos of the victim after her death and went on another date arranged on Tinder the following day.

The young woman's death sparked vigils in her memory across New Zealand and overseas.

After the sentencing, Detective Inspector Scott Beard spoke outside the High Court in Auckland, saying it marked an end to a "long and difficult time for the Millane family".

"Even though their lives had been changed forever, with help from family and friends they can finally move on with their lives," he said.

He said he hoped it would give some comfort to Grace's family and friends as they come to terms with the "senseless killing".

"I've spoken to the family, they are pleased with the sentence but they won't get Grace back," he said.

"No matter what the outcome was today, they will forever have a life sentence."

-With AAP.

Feature image: Facebook.

00:00 / ???