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Man convicted of murdering Essex backpacker in New Zealand

PUBLISHED: 06:46 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 06:46 22 November 2019

Auckland High Court  Picture: GOOGLE

Auckland High Court Picture: GOOGLE

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A man has been found guilty of murdering Essex backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand.

The 27-year-old killer was convicted by unanimous verdict after just five hours of deliberation at Auckland High Court.

Ms Millane's was strangled by a man she met on a dating site - and spent several hours drinking with in the centre of Auckland on December 1, 2018.

They returned to his apartment and Ms Millane was killed either that night or in the early hours of the next morning - on her 22nd birthday.

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The man, whose name is subject to a suppression order, shoved her body inside a suitcase before burying her in a forested area outside Auckland.

Ms Millane, from Wickford, was assumed missing and her father, David Millane, flew to New Zealand as local authorities spent a week searching until her body was found by police.

The defence had claimed the death was accidental and occurred during rough sexual intercourse.

Justice Simon Moore told jury members before they delivered their verdict that they had to be certain the man had murderous intent when he put his hands on Ms Millane's neck during sexual intercourse to convict him of murder, the New Zealand Herald reported.

During the trial the jurors heard from forensic experts who examined the accused's apartment for blood stains as well as Ms Millane's body after her death.

They were also shown footage of the woman and the defendant drinking at various bars throughout Auckland and kissing before they returned to his apartment.

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