NEWS
13/12/2018 16:33 GMT

Grace Millane Murder: Police Find Shovel Linked To Backpacker's Death

A 26-year-old man has been charged with murdering the 22-year-old backpacker.

PA Ready News UK
Grace Millane

Police in New Zealand have found a shovel they believe is linked to the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane

Auckland City Police discovered the spade in the central west area of the city after combing through CCTV footage, they said on Thursday. 

The discovery came just days after police made an official appeal for information, asking anyone who thought they may have seen the item to come forward

Confirming it has been found, Detective Inspector Scott Beard said: “Police would like to thank those members of the public who called the 0800 number with various sightings of similar items.”

On Monday, a 26-year-old man who cannot be named was charged with the murder of 22-year-old Millane. 

The last confirmed sighting of her was at 9.41pm on 1 December, the day before her birthday, at the Citylife Hotel, when she was seen with a “male companion”.

Her parents contacted the authorities after becoming concerned when she didn’t reply to birthday wishes they sent the following day. 

A week later, police said they were treating the case as a homicide investigation and her body was then found in the Waitakere Ranges, 10 metres from a road.

In a statement on Wednesday, Millane’s family said their “whole world turned upside down” after her disappearance.

Charlotte Greenfield / Reuters
New Zealanders have held vigils in memory of Grace Millane 

“Grace went off to travel the world in mid-October and arrived in New Zealand on the 20th November,” they said. “By the amount of pictures and messages we received, she clearly loved this country, its people and the lifestyle.

“We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world and discovering their own overseas experience.”

Calling the crime “heinous”, the family also paid tribute to investigating officers for completing a “concise, stringent and thorough investigation”.

They added: “We would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion.

“Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks, but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi.”

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern became tearful as she gave an emotional apology to Millane’s family.

“Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn’t, and I’m sorry for that,” she said. “I cannot imagine the grief of her family and what they would be experiencing and feeling right now.”