Essex

Grace Millane trial: Accused 'eroticised' backpacker's death

Grace Millane Image copyright Lucie Blackman Trust
Image caption University of Lincoln graduate Grace Millane had been travelling alone in New Zealand

The man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane "eroticised her death", prosecutors have said.

Ms Millane, 21, died in a hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand, before being buried in woodland outside the city.

In a closing speech, prosecutor Brian Dickey said the defendant had "sexualised" the killing by taking intimate photos of her dead body before viewing pornography online.

His defence claims the death was an accident during consensual sex.

Ms Millane, from Wickford, Essex, died on the night before her 22nd birthday in December last year.

Image copyright New Zealand Police
Image caption CCTV pictures showed Ms Millane and the defendant ordering cocktails during a date

The defence has told Auckland High Court her death was not murder, but the result of choking during sex which "went wrong".

In his closing remarks, Mr Dickey said evidence from pathologists had shown fatal strangulation results from "sustained pressure" to the neck.

Ms Millane would have "gone limp" and shown other signs of physical distress some time before death, he said.

"If you are satisfied that [the defendant] knew he was doing something that would cause some harm, he did it and then death occurred, he would be guilty of murder," he told jurors.

'Calm and calculated'

In his closing speech, Ian Brookie, for the defendant, said the "core" of his client's story of an accident matched with the evidence.

"These two people did get carried away in the moment, they did get affected by alcohol and were not experienced in these types of activities, particularly pressure to the neck," he said

The defendant's behaviour had shown a "real lack of planning and a lack of sophistication", he added.

Image copyright New Zealand Police
Image caption Ms Millane and the man were seen entering his apartment building on their way to his room

But Mr Dickey said the man's actions after Ms Millane's death had been "cool, calm and calculated" and not panicked as claimed by the defence.

The 27-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admits putting Ms Millane's body in a suitcase which was found in the mountainous Waitākere Ranges outside Auckland.

Mr Dickey said the man had searched for information about the area before taking photos of Ms Millane's corpse.

He had bought a second suitcase in a bid to cover his tracks, as well as cleaning products and a shovel, jurors heard.

The man further showed a lack of concern for Ms Millane's dignity when he went on a Tinder date the next day while her body was still inside his hotel room, Mr Dickey said.

The trial continues.

Image copyright TVNZ
Image caption Grace Millane was found buried in the Waitakere Ranges, near Auckland