November 12, 2019 3.45 pm This story is over 31 months old

Grace Millane murder accused ‘lied to cops’ after student was ‘strangled in sex’

The trial continues

The man accused of murdering Lincoln graduate backpacker Grace Millane is said to have lied to police as the five-week trial into her death continues.

Grace Millane was on a backpacking trip to New Zealand when she went on a date with the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in Aukland, a day before her 22nd birthday. They had met on the Tinder dating app and visited a number of bars in the city centre.

Crown prosecutors allege that on the night of December 1, the accused strangled Millane to death in his central city apartment after the pair spent the night drinking.

In the interview with police on December 6, footage of which has been released as part of the trial, the accused said he was talking to her on Tinder after they had match.

They met at the SkyCity hotel and leisure complex before they went up to Andy’s Burger Bar, which he admitted was his idea as he didn’t know whether she was real or a “catfish”.

He claimed meeting there gave him security.

Initially, in the interview, he told police the pair went their separate ways after the date.

Photo: Screenshot from video by Chris Tarpey/New Zealand Herald

After being shown a CCTV image, he confirmed it was them and explained the directions each of them were heading in as they went their separate ways.

However, his explanation puzzled police as his version of events appeared to contradict CCTV footage of the pair going to two more establishments before the CityLife hotel, together.

The jury will watch the rest of the video interview when the trial resumes on Wednesday morning.

Pathologist explains Millane’s injuries

Dr Simon Stables Forensic Pathologist also spoke in court this week, saying there was an area of significant bruising on the left side of her neck, which extended from the jaw down.

He said this injury would normally be a result of pressure over a “sufficient period of time and with sufficient force”. He also said he found injuries which were consistent with restraint, such as bruises on her arms.

When he was questioned by defence counsel Ian Brookie about whether the bruise was the result of consensual activity, he was unable to clarify this definitively.

The court was reportedly told that the accused accepted Millane died from pressure to her neck, but denied intending to cause her fatal harm.

The trial

As previously reported, the 27-year-old man accused of the murder pleaded not guilty when the trial formally began at Auckland’s High Court on Monday, November 4.

Poignant CCTV footage of Grace in the arms of the alleged murderer moments before she went missing was shown during the trial.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the court has since heard testimony about the first contact police made with the accused. The jury also watched some of the video of his police interview. The court also heard how she was strangled during sex with the defendant.

An Auckland woman, who matched with the defendant on Tinder and met him for a sexual encounter described him as a “sociopath” in the New Zealand Herald.

She was one of three women to tell their story to the jury, including the accused’s alleged supposed liking for erotic asphyxiation.