Grace Millane’s Killer Jailed For Life As Her Mum Says, ‘The Tears I Shed Are Never-Ending’

Grace Millane's mother, brother and sister-in-law read out emotional statements as her killer was sentenced for her murder.

Grace Millane

by Rhiannon Evans |
Updated on

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

Grace, 22, was strangled in Auckland in December 2018, while on a Tinder date with the man, who still cannot be named due to legal reasons.

During his trial last year, the man claimed Grace died during consensual strangling during sex, employing the so-called 'rough sex' defence. After hearing he had taken photos of her and gone on another date before burying her in the woods, the jury refuted his claims and found him guilty of murder. The worldwide outcry that her family had to listen to such a defence saw Grazia partner with Harriet Harman MP and campaign group We Can't Consent To Thisto petition the government to outlaw the 'rough sex' defence. You can sign that petition here.

During the sentence, Grace's mother, brother and sister-in-law read emotional statements by video link. Her mother Gillian told the court: 'I am absolutely heartbroken that you have taken my daughter’s future and robbed me of so many more memories that we were going to create.

'Last February I went into a very dark place. I wanted to take my own life. The physical and emotional pain was just too much. But how can I add more pain to my already suffering family? How am I meant to get up and get on with my days knowing it’s just another day I won’t speak to her?

'Your barbaric actions towards my Grace is beyond comprehension. No life sentence you will receive today will match the life sentence without my Grace. But I will do my upmost to ensure that no other family needs to go through what we went through.

'I want you to know, I don’t forgive you because if I did that means I care about you and I simply don’t. Her tragic life was court short by your willful cruel actions. You took it upon yourself to murder my beautiful Grace, an innocent young lady.

'On a daily basis I torment myself over what you did to my Grace. The terror and pain she must have experienced at your hands. As a mother I would have done anything to trade places with her. I sit full of guilt knowing I couldn’t be there. She died terrified and alone in a room with you.

'You have ripped a hole in my heart, one that will never be repaired. You walked into our lives and destroyed Grace in the pursuit of your own sexual gratification. Now my family will never be the same. So many other innocent people including your own family have had their worlds destroyed.

'I will miss my darling Grace until my last breath in my body leaves me. The laughter, the conversations, the memories, you will never be forgotten my darling. You will always be my sunshine.'

The family has now set up a charity in her memory, called Love Grace, where handbags and toiletries are collected for domestic abuse victims.

Grace's brother Declan said, 'I will simply miss my sister for the rest of my life and this pain will never go away. It’s tough to carry on life as normal after the destruction of our family … how do you carry on?'

Grace's sister-in-law Victoria described visiting Grace's grave regularly. Grace was intended to be bridesmaid at Victoria's wedding to Grace's brother Michael, and she told the court how a photo of Grace stood in place at the altar at the ceremony last year, instead.

'Grace became the little sister I always longed for. I often dream about Grace and seeing her again, hoping I will wake from this nightmare.'

To help our campaign to ban the rough sex defence, sign the petition here.

READ MORE: No One Can Consent To Their Murder: Our Friend Grace Certainly Did Not

READ MORE: No Woman Consents To Being Murdered

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