From the moment Grace Millane began messaging her best friend about a mystery man she was on a date with, "something seemed out of place".

"I click with him so well," the British backpacker said in a message about the Kiwi bloke she met on December 1 last year.

"I will let you know what happens tomorrow."

But tomorrow's message never came.

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The accused and Grace Millane pictured at the Mexican Cafe in downtown Auckland. Photo / Supplied
The accused and Grace Millane pictured at the Mexican Cafe in downtown Auckland. Photo / Supplied

A week later Millane's body was found crammed into a suitcase and dumped in a shallow grave in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges.

And the man she was seen drinking with on the eve of her 22nd birthday was charged with murder.

Yesterday in the High Court at Auckland the jury for that now 27-year-old man was given the task of watching and listening to the finals hours of Millane's life.

The recent university graduate was living her dream and travelling the world as part of a year-long solo OE.

After arriving in Auckland she was matched with her accused killer on the dating app Tinder.

The Crown alleges that on the night of December 1 he strangled Millane to death in his central city apartment after the pair spent the night drinking.

Grace Millane murder trial: Opening statements and evidence. Video / Chris Tarpey

"I'm on a date with a guy who is a manager of an oil company," Millane messaged her best friend Ameena Ashcroft on Facebook, whom she had met while studying at Lincoln University in the UK.

In a statement read to the court yesterday, however, Ashcroft recalled feeling "a bit concerned" and that "something seemed out of place".

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In a series of further messages to Ashcroft, Millane said: "Cocktails all round" and "he was like 'it's [my] birthday tomorrow, we are getting smashed'."

Ashcroft thought the messages were odd and that the man Millane was on a date with was doing "a weird thing ... with someone you don't really know".

"I click with him so well," Millane said. "I will let you know what happens tomorrow."

CCTV footage also showed Millane and the accused, whose name is suppressed, at several bars and restaurants in central Auckland on a rainy night.

Police had retrieved several days' worth of images and video in their bid to trace Millane's last hours.

After drinking at Andy's Burger Bar at SkyCity and the Mexican Cafe on Victoria St West, the pair made their way to the Bluestone Room - a pub just metres from the CityLife apartment where the accused lived and Millane died.

While there, the accused and Millane ordered several more drinks - with tequila seemingly the alcohol of choice for the night.

Grace Millane's body was found in a suitcase in a shallow grave in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges. Photo / Supplied
Grace Millane's body was found in a suitcase in a shallow grave in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges. Photo / Supplied

By 9.10pm the pair appear to be comfortable in each other's company and they kiss several times.

But when Millane then leaves the table at 9.20pm - possibly to use the bathroom - the accused can be seen on video pausing before rummaging through her handbag.

He puts it back in a different place than where it was left - on the stool rather than the table - but Millane doesn't notice when she returns.

At 9.40pm the pair leave the pub and make the short walk to the CityLife hotel.

The accused has his arm around Millane's shoulders and the pair enter the hotel lift, destined for the third floor.

It is the last image police have recovered of Millane alive.

Grace Millane murder trial: CCTV shows alleged killer going through Millane's handbag. Video / Chris Tarpey

What happened next is for the jury to decide, but at 1.29am on December 2 there was a spike in internet activity on the accused's cellphone.

Detective Samuel Luker, who was responsible for investigating the accused's apartment on December 7 after Millane was declared missing, recalled what he found in the room.

He was careful upon entry, not knowing who might be in the apartment.

"Who did you think might possibly be there?" prosecutor Robin McCoubrey asked the witness yesterday.

"Miss Millane," Luker replied.

But the room was empty.

Of significance, however, was a black and green phone he found. It belonged to the accused.

Police conducted luminol tests at the accused's apartment. Photo / Supplied
Police conducted luminol tests at the accused's apartment. Photo / Supplied

An analysis of the device revealed several Google searches and photos taken of a naked woman from 1.29am on December 2.

The web history showed an initial search for Waitakere Ranges, then at 1.31am a search for "hottest fire" was made, the court heard.

Several pornography sites were then accessed and videos viewed.

At 1.59am the first of several photos of a naked woman was taken - the Crown believes it was Millane's dead body.

It was at this moment during the evidence that Millane's mum, Gillian Millane, left the courtroom in tears.

She would return later.

Further internet searches later in the morning included "car hire Auckland", "time in London", "large sports bags", "rigor mortis", "flesh-eating birds" and "are there vultures in New Zealand?"

Luker said luminol tests were also conducted in the apartment and he observed a "blue glow emitting" just under the window and at the base of the bed.

Another luminol result showed a large circle between the wall and wardrobe.

Under the kitchen sink of the apartment police also found several heavy-duty cleaning products.

Dianne Crenfeldt, an expert forensic scientist from the Institute of Environmental Science and Research, told the court she found what was "probable blood" in the accused's apartment.

She will continue giving evidence when the trial continues today.