Warning: The Grace Millane murder trial is hearing evidence of a graphic and sexual nature. Reader discretion is advised. The trial is taking place in open court and media are required to accurately report the evidence as it is presented.

The defence has closed its case in the trial of the man accused of murdering Grace Millane, with the jury now having heard all of the evidence.

Today, they will hear closing arguments from the Crown and defence.

Trial judge Justice Simon Moore told the jury: "It will be a long day, I expect."

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He will give his summation on Friday.

Crown prosecutors allege that on December 1 last year - the eve of Millane's 22nd birthday - the accused strangled her to death in his CityLife hotel apartment in downtown Auckland.

The 27-year-old alleged killer, however, claims the British tourist died as a result of sexual misadventure.

While the accused did not give evidence himself this week, his legal team, led by Ian Brookie, employed a variety of witnesses on his behalf.

These included a forensic pathologist and an expert in sexual culture. They also produced evidence and statements about Millane's sexual preferences, some of which was read to the court this afternoon.

Material extracted from Millane's laptop by a computer expert instructed by the defence showed three chats were recovered from the BDSM online app Whiplr, which Millane was a member of.

The messages, which totalled 412 in August and September 2017, were between Millane and two unidentified men.

Some of the messages appeared to propose a casual sexual encounter with the first man, the court heard.

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Millane, who appeared new to the practice of BDSM at the time, also talked of role play and discussed her desire to be fully restrained and blindfolded.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey has told the jury Grace Millane was strangled and murdered by the accused. Photo / Michael Craig
Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey has told the jury Grace Millane was strangled and murdered by the accused. Photo / Michael Craig

A user of Whiplr who had connected with Millane earlier had his police statement read to the court.

He said the pair exchanged messages and photos before in another messaging platform Millane, using her full name, outlined her interest in BDSM and other forms of kinky sex.

Millane appeared to be "at an explorative stage and quite open to suggestions" but was "quite open to it and wanted to try it", he said.

"I felt like Grace was more naive and trusting in the BDSM area. The users could be any undesirable person online, and Grace had a naivety."

The court heard Millane last accessed Whiplr at 3.43am (GMT) on December 1, which is the afternoon of that day in New Zealand time.

Richard Middleton, a private investigator hired by the accused's legal team, also gave evidence about the sex apps.

He said FetLife, which Millane was a member on, was "quite explicit".

FetLife has about eight million users worldwide, the court heard.

The retired detective inspector told the court he went to the United Kingdom in an attempt to ask Millane's friends to testify for the defence.

But he said witnesses outside New Zealand cannot be summonsed to court and, instead, those who knew Millane have had their statements read to the court during the trial.

One of the last images of Grace Millane alive, as she is seen on CCTV walking into the elevator of the CityLife hotel lift with the accused behind her. Photo / Supplied
One of the last images of Grace Millane alive, as she is seen on CCTV walking into the elevator of the CityLife hotel lift with the accused behind her. Photo / Supplied

Other such evidence was heard on Tuesday, when a former sexual partner of Millane had his statement read to the court.

He talked of their relationship, how she enjoyed choking during sex and their practise of BDSM.

A female confidant of Millane also had her statement read to the court and said Millane "enjoyed her partner putting his hands around her neck".

On Wednesday, a man who spent the night of November 30 last year with Millane - the day before she met the accused - told the court he had his hand "potentially on her neck" when they had sex.

The man, who has name suppression, said he met the "outgoing" Millane at the Base Backpackers where she was staying in Auckland and they talked of her future travels to Fiji.

The pair messaged each other on Facebook before deciding to meet and return to the man's apartment in downtown Auckland, he said.

During sex, he said, he may have placed a hand around Millane's neck but "can't remember 100 per cent".

The man, who came forward to police after Millane died, said this was a "common" practise with women he was intimate with.

Grace Millane murder trial: Sex expert on BDSM and 'breath play'. Video / Chris Tarpey

A British expert in sexual culture, Professor Clarissa Smith from the University of Sunderland, also testified for the defence via video link from England this morning.

Smith, whose studies have included taboo media and sexual ethics, said attitudes towards sex have drastically changed in the past three decades.

"It's not just reserved for maybe one's life partner or maybe marriage," she said.

Through her research, she told the court, she learned how women were interested in themes of domination in erotic stories.

People now talk about sex as entertainment, she said, and it is "an incredibly important part of youth cultures".

It was also now more common for people to "dabble in elements of kink", such as erotic asphyxiation, which the court has heard Millane practised.

She said some high-profile cases of celebrities engaging in erotic asphyxiation have increased its popularity.

Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said the accused acted out of fear because he didn't think anyone would believe his story. Photo / Michael Craig
Defence lawyer Ron Mansfield said the accused acted out of fear because he didn't think anyone would believe his story. Photo / Michael Craig

BDSM, the professor said, was an umbrella term which includes bondage, domination and sadomasochism.

However, she said the "point is not to be humiliated" or dominated.

"It's about playing with the idea and feelings of humiliation," she said. "But you want the feeling of being under control."

She likened the feeling to that of being on a rollercoaster.

"Young people are, of course, more likely to be interested in experimenting and trying something new."

While safety should be of primary concern during erotic asphyxiation, she said, "in the heat of the moment that might not happen".

She added that when alcohol or drugs were involved "safety may not be someone's first priority".

On Tuesday, the defence called its own expert forensic pathologist, Dr Fintan Garavan, via video link in Miami in the United States.

Garavan said the "major participant" in Millane's death was pressure on her neck - corresponding with the finding of the Crown's expert pathologist Dr Simon Stables.

He, however, disagreed with Stables' position that alcohol would not have been a factor.

Millane's alcohol consumption may have led to a biological "safety valve" not kicking in, Garavan said.

The expert in the effect of drugs and alcohol on the body added it could "very well have been a secondary factor in the cause of death".

CCTV shows the backpacker had several drinks on the night she died, including shots of tequila and cocktails.

The doctor said the narrative of rough sex from the accused was also "an adequate" explanation as to how Millane may have died, given the bruising found around her neck.

Grace Millane murder trial: Accused admits to disposing of body. Video / Chris Tarpey

When Ron Mansfield gave the defence's opening address yesterday, he told the jury no one would believe the accused's story of a fatal sexual encounter.

"But don't prove him right," he urged the jury.

What the accused did after Millane died, which included disposing of her body, cleaning the apartment, dumping evidence and lying to police, was the result of fear, Mansfield said.

"People do things when they're stressed, when they're panicked.

"No matter what he did once he realised she had died, unless he called the authorities, that was not going to look good or stand him in good stead ... Because who was going to believe him that death occurred during a consensual sexual activity?"

Millane, he continued, was a "loving, bright, engaging, intelligent and well-liked woman".

"That is her reputation and that should be her reputation and memory at the start of this trial and at the conclusion of it."