Man to be charged with Grace Millane's murder

Grace Millane had been in New Zealand for about two weeks

"Grace is no longer alive; this is now a murder investigation", DI Scott Beard of Auckland city police said.

New Zealand Police have announced they believe missing British backpacker Grace Millane, 22, has been murdered.

There was no evidence they knew each other before Millane disappeared but Detective Inspector Scott Beard wouldn't comment on speculation they may have met on Tinder.

"Grace's family has been advised of this development and they are devastated".

Asked why police were now treating Millane's disappearance as a murder, Beard said it was a combination of factors. She went to Catholic school, and so did they, so they know her.

After visiting Peru, she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been in near-daily contact with her family until December 1 - the day before her 22nd birthday.

Searches have also been carried out at the backpackers' accommodation where she was staying.

They said that several of Ms Millane's possessions, including her passport, were missing.

She went missing in Auckland about a week ago and hasn't been heard from since.

Masses in Millane's memory will be held on Sunday morning (UK time) where churchgoers would be "praying for her and her family".

Local police were eager to find her and return her to her family, but new evidence has changed the course of the case.

"That property is going to be somewhere, the clothing is going to be somewhere, we haven't found it".

"He was brought back to the Auckland Central Police Station and is now speaking to us in relation to the murder of Grace Millane".

"We sort of noticed Gracie hadn't really texted back or hadn't read anything, which was obviously really odd because it was her birthday".

In the statement issued on Saturday, Millane's family praised Auckland police "who have been outstanding in their support and efforts in helping to find Grace".

Auckland City Police said it received a missing person's report on Wednesday.

The Lucie Blackman Trust, which has been supporting Millane's family, posted on its Facebook page they were "incredibly saddened" by the police announcement.

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Miss Millane's father, who has travelled to Auckland to help with investigations, said his family are "extremely concerned" for her welfare.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter".

Millane was last seen at a hotel with a man, who has not been named.

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