• Warning: Distressing content
In late November last year 21-year-old British backpacker Grace Millane arrived in Auckland.
She was here to see the sights, experience and explore New Zealand - to have fun on her OE.
But days later she was dead.
A man is currently on trial for Millane's murder and details of her final hours and death can now be revealed.
Crown Prosecutor Robin McCoubrey outlined the case against the accused today in his opening statement.
For the first time the Herald can publish details of how Millane met her alleged killer, and her death.
This information is part of the Crown case and was detailed in the High Court at Auckland before a jury of 12 and Justice Simon Moore.
It has been compiled by police investigators for the Crown using a combination of CCTV footage, statements the accused made to police, and information taken from his cellphone searches and data.
The accused, who has interim name suppression, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Millane.
He admits being with her when she died and disposing of her body, but claims he did not intentionally harm the young Brit.
His lawyer Ian Brookie said it was a simple case of an accident involving a young couple who had engaged in consensual sexual activity with the sole purpose of pleasure.
"They were both keen to give it a go - and they did," he said.
"The accused might blame himself, but he is not to blame.
"The defence says that this was not a murder ... these actions were part of sexual activities that they were doing together and they were in no way intended to cause any harm to her.
"It was an accident ... it occurred during a perfectly ordinary casual sexual encounter between a young couple who met up on Tinder."
The Crown argues the accused then not only murdered Millane, he then "coldly and methodically" disposed of her body in a shallow grave and cleaned the scene - trying his best to "break any link" between himself and his victim.
• Grace Millane arrives in New Zealand, travelling around the North Island
• Millane arrives in Auckland, connects with the accused on dating app Tinder
• Millane and the accused start to message each other, agree to meet
• The pair meet at SkyCity and visit Andy's Burger Bar
• The pair go to Mexican Cafe on Victoria St, then the Bluestone Room, a bar near the apartment where the accused lived
• CCTV from the Bluestone Room shows the pair kissing, Millane is clearly comfortable
• At 9.40pm the pair walk towards the City Life hotel
• They enter the apartment where the accused was living
• "In that apartment, Grace Millane died," said Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey
• A post mortem examination later revealed she died as a result of pressure on her neck
• The accused claims the pair were intoxicated and had increasingly rough sex
• Accused claims Millane instigated the activity and said it became "more violent" and moved to the floor
• He said after he finished having sex he went and had a shower, and fell asleep in there
• He later woke up and went to bed, claiming he thought Millane had left
• He then claims he woke again later and found her still on the floor, dead with blood coming from her nose
• "The Crown's position on that is that it isn't true," McCoubrey told the jury.
• "What happened in that room, Grace can't tell us."
• The Crown case is that the accused strangled Millane to death
• Millane's 22nd birthday
• An examination of his phone showed he was using Google search from 1.29am
• He searched the Waitakere Ranges and "hottest fire"
• At 1.41am he watches a pornographic video on his phone via a website called Pornhub
• McCoubrey alleged that by this time, Millane was dead.
• "What (the accused) is doing here is trying to find a place to hide her body," said McCoubrey. "He wasn't distressed ... or concerned by her death."
• The accused accesses and looks at a number of other pornographic websites
• He then took seven intimate photos of Millane.
• The accused accesses more porn online
• There is then a gap in his internet use which the Crown says suggests he was sleeping
• 6am - six internet searches on his phone including "rigor mortis", car hire and extra large bags
• The accused goes to The Warehouse on Elliott St in the CBD, purchases suitcase
• He puts Millane in the suitcase
• He then makes several trips to Countdown on Victoria St to purchase cleaning supplies and a Rug Doctor
• Accused attempts to clean "the mess" in his apartment
• "He's clearly gone to some lengths to break any forensic link between him and Grace Millane," McCoubrey alleged
• The accused then takes taxi to car rental company on Victoria St
• He hires car and returns to City Life
• Accused captured on CCTV moving the suitcase containing body down to rental car and puts it in boot
• He then goes on a date with a woman at a Ponsonby bar. The date had been arranged earlier via Tinder and confirmed earlier in the day while Millane lay dead in his apartment
• McCoubrey told the jury the accused "doesn't seem concerned by the presence of a dead body in his apartment" at the time
• Millane's body remains in the car boot overnight
• Accused drives the rental car to Scenic Drive, digs a hole and buries suitcase
• Accused then drops clothes and linen at a dry cleaner, takes the rental car to Wash World at St Lukes and cleans it
• From there the accused went to a pharmacy on Queen St and purchased medication for a rash on his hands
• Millane's family report her missing
• A detective accessed Millane's Facebook profile and saw a comment on a photo she had posted from the accused, so messaged him
• Media outlets in New Zealand and overseas start to report on her disappearance
• Police release an image of Millane at SkyCity from CCTV footage
• The accused contacts police after seeing the Facebook message
• He meets with police and confirmed he'd connected with Millane via Tinder and they met at SkyCity
• He claimed he last seen Millane at 10pm on December 1
• McCoubrey said that was a blatant lie
• Police confirm new sighting of Millane at City Life
• A scene examination begins of the accused's apartment
• Police confirm "vehicle of interest" has been located
• They also confirm Millane is no longer alive
• Just before 9pm the accused is charged with murder
• Police reveal a body has been found in the Waitakere Ranges
• Detective Inspector Scott Beard later confirms the body is Millane
• The accused appears in the Auckland District Court
• Name suppression is declined but he appeals, keeping his identity secret
• That suppression has remained in place since
January 16, 2019
• Accused appears in High Court for the first time
November 4, 2019
• The trial for the accused begins in the High Court at Auckland
• He is accused of murdering Millane by strangulation