By Cristina Hodgson •
Published: 06 Nov 2019 • 7:00
Grace Millane Murder Trial
BRITISH backpacker Grace Millane, 21, was murdered during rough sex by her Tinder date who then watched porn and took intimate photos of her dead body before going on another date, court hears
Ms Millane, from Wickford in Essex, was on a round-the-world trip when she arrived in New Zealand last November.
The body of the 22-year-old was found in a forested area near Auckland a week after she was last seen at a hotel in the city centre on December 2.
Opening the case on yesterday (Wednesday), Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said Ms Millane and the defendant met via the dating app Tinder, and they went to a number of bars in Auckland city centre.
Jurors were told the Briton, who was on a gap year travelling the world and vanished in the early hours of her 22nd birthday, had been strangled until she bled through the nose.
Her killer spent an hour after she died researching how to dispose of her body, watching hardcore porn and taking intimate photos of her corpse, the court heard.
The defendant, a 27-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons and who has pleaded not guilty to murder, admits she died in his flat and he put her body in a suitcase and buried it in woods, jurors heard.
But his defence lawyer said the death was an accident and she was killed during a consensual sex gone wrong after asking the man to put his hands around her neck during sex.
It was ‘understandable’ if the jury did not like what the defendant did after the death, but it does not make him a murderer, the court heard
Mr McCoubrey said the defendant initially admitted meeting Miss Millane, but told police she left him before reaching his apartment. A story the defendant changed when presented with CCTV showing the pair of them entering the CityLife hotel together.
Mr McCoubrey said only two people knew what had happened in the room and one of them was dead.
The defendant, in a recorded police interview, gave police a detailed account of how the pair had sex and Miss Millane had taken charge, Mr McCoubrey said.
‘She told me to hold her arms tighter, and then she told me to hold her throat and um, go harder.’
‘Then at that point we’d finished, so I went into the shower, cause at that point I was sweating.’
‘All I remember is falling asleep in the shower,’ he had told detectives in his interview, ‘and then waking up. I crawled back into bed. Initially I thought Grace had left. And I was obviously asleep in bed. I woke up the next day and I saw that she was lying on the floor. I saw that she had blood coming from her nose.’
Mr McCoubrey said that ‘You would expect somebody to call for emergency assistance at that stage and that you would be distraught about what happened. Instead, the defendant visited the Porn Hub website where his first search was for a ‘very young teen’ video’
By 7:50am that morning, Miss Millane’s 22nd birthday, the defendant was back on Tinder, Mr McCoubrey said, arranging another date with a second woman while the Briton lay dead on his floor.
Ms Millane’s parents David and Gillian were present in court for the start of the trial, which is due to last five weeks.
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