The Man Accused Of Killing Grace Millane Has Been Found Guilty

He will be sentenced in February.

Grace Millane vigil

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

The 27-year-old New Zealand man accused of killing Grace Millane, 21, has been found guilty of her murder this morning. He will be sentenced on 21 February next year.

The jury, of seven women and five men, unanimously agreed the verdict after five hours of deliberations. Millane's parents, David and Gillian, reportedly sobbed when the verdict was announced. The man responsible, however, showed no emotion.

Millane – from Wickford, Essex – had just graduated from the University of Lincoln when she embarked on a round-the-world trip, travelling across South America for six weeks before visiting New Zealand. Millane met the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on Tinder.

The court heard that after they went on a date, they proceeded to the man’s hotel where he strangled her. Her body was found a week later in mountainous Waitakere Ranges, with post-mortem examinations finding marks on her body ‘consistent with restraint’.

The man ‘wasn’t distressed or concerned by her death’ on the evening, prosecutors stated, after he set about disposing of her body into a suitcase, sexualising her corpse by watching pornography and taking pictures of her, before going on another Tinder date the next evening - Millane’s remains were still in his hotel room.

The horrifying case saw Millane’s sexual history brought into the court, with a number of news outlets using troubling headlines such as ‘sex act gone wrong’. It was reported that she was a member of BDSM sites, with the defence attempting to argue this was somehow a huge accident as a result of consensual sexual activity.

It’s a troubling trend in defensive tactics when men kill women, with 59 women killed in the UK in a so-called ‘rough sex gone wrong’ act. Essentially, 59 women victim-blamed for their own murder.

The more this narrative is legitimised, the easier it is for other killers to use it as a defence. As such, Millane’s killer being found guilty is will hopefully have a wider impact on this abhorrent defence tactic being used.

According to New Zealand law, those accused or victim to a crime can ask to have their name suppressed, ultimately making it illegal for news outlets to publish Millane's killer's name. While this is typically used to ensure a fair trial – with images too also withheld – the judge, Justice Simon Moore, ordered that the suppression order hiding the killer's identity to remain in place indefinitely, or until lifted by the court. (After the 'guilty' verdict, some of the British press have started to name the murderer.)

Speaking outside court, Millane’s father thanked the police, prosecution and New Zealand people for their kindness.

‘Grace was taken from us in the most brutal fashion,’ he said. ‘Our lives have been ripped apart. This will be with us for the rest of our lives. Grace was a beautiful, talented, loving daughter.

‘Grace was our sunshine. She did not deserve to be murdered in such a barbaric way in her OE [overseas experience] year. We must return home and try to pick up the pieces of our lives, day to day, without our lovely Grace.'

Campaign group We Can’t Consent To This is calling on MPs to bring the Domestic Abuse Bill back to parliament after the election, including a clause that would end the use of ‘consent’ claims in the violent injury or killing of women. To find out more, click here:

Read More:

Grace Millane Might Have Been A Member Of BDSM Sites – That Still Doesn't Explain Her Death

Harriet Harman: 'We Need To Stop Sexual Liberation Being Used As A Defence For Men Killing Women'

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