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Grace Millane murderer to appeal conviction and sentence

A New Zealand court found the man guilty in November and later sentenced him to serve at least 17 years in prison.

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Undated handout cctv grab issued by Auckland City Police of Grace Millane inside a hotel lift with the 27-year-old male who is accused of her murder.

Undated handout cctv grab issued by Auckland City Police of Grace Millane inside a hotel lift with the 27-year-old male who is accused of her murder.

Undated handout cctv grab issued by Auckland City Police of Grace Millane inside a hotel lift with the 27-year-old male who is accused of her murder.

British backpacker Grace Millane’s murderer has begun the process of appealing against his conviction and his prison sentence, his barrister said.

Auckland-based Rachael Reed QC told the PA news agency: “I can confirm that I act for him and an appeal against conviction and sentence has been filed” in the New Zealand Court of Appeal.

Lawyers Ian Brookie and Ron Mansfield led the defence of the 28-year-old, who cannot be named due to a suppression order, during his trial.

He was convicted of murdering Ms Millane by strangling her in a hotel in Auckland after meeting her via Tinder on December 1, 2018 – the day before her 22nd birthday.

Ms Millane’s body was later found in a suitcase buried in a forested area outside the city.

Last month the man was jailed for at least 17 years for the murder.

Grace Millane death
Grace Millane (Auckland City Police)

The man claimed Ms Millane died accidentally after the pair engaged in rough sex that went too far.

A jury in November rejected that argument and found the man guilty.

Murder typically comes with a life sentence in New Zealand. Prosecutors successfully argued that the man must serve 17 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Mr Brookie and Mr Mansfield had asked for their then-client to serve 12 years, later indicating he would appeal.

In sentencing, Justice Simon Moore told the murderer his actions amounted to “conduct that underscores a lack of empathy and sense of self-entitlement and objectification”.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Scott Beard of Auckland City Police said the death was “senseless and needless”.

PA