The family of Grace Millane have delivered powerful and emotional victim impact statements this morning at the sentencing for the man who murdered her.

Sentencing is taking place in the High Court at Auckland before Justice Simon Moore.

The public gallery is packed and the killer's father and stepmother are present.

The hearing started with members of the Millane family reading victim impact statements.

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Her mother, Gillian Millane, said Grace was "truly beautiful with a smile that would light up the room".

"Grace was never just a daughter - she was my friend, my very best friend," she said.

"We made memories together that I will treasure forever."

She said Grace was confident, kind and intelligent and had a desire to travel the world.

British backpacker Grace Millane was murdered during a visit to New Zealand in late 2018. Photo / Supplied
British backpacker Grace Millane was murdered during a visit to New Zealand in late 2018. Photo / Supplied

"I am absolutely heartbroken that you have taken by daughter's future away," she told the killer.

The moment her husband confirmed Grace was dead was "the worst" moment in her life.

"My family was broken," she said.

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"I was one week post op when my nightmare began. I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Grace had been my rock and that (op) was the last hurdle for our family.

"For eight days I sat not knowing the whereabouts of Grace ... I was in a state of shock and numbness ... agonising pain not knowing.

"I knew in my heart she was dead."

Grace Millane's mother Gillian reads her victim impact statement. Photo / Dean Purcell
Grace Millane's mother Gillian reads her victim impact statement. Photo / Dean Purcell

Gillian Millane said Grace's tragic life was cut short by the killer's "wilful, cruel actions".

"On a daily basis I torment myself about what you did ... the terror and pain she must have experienced at your hands.

"As a mother I would have done anything to changes places with her ... I should have been there.

"She died terrified and alone in a room with you."

Gillian Millane said the killer's name was never spoken in her family.

"I look at the last family photograph together ... little did I know that Grace's graduation would be our last family photo.

"All her dreams and aspirations taken by you."

She said last February she went "into a very dark place" and wanted to taker her own life.

She said the physical and emotional pain was too much.

But she could not hurt her family more.

"Our home feels empty without Grace ... the tears I've shed are never ending," she said.

"I often find myself talking to her photo, I then cry myself to sleep at night ... how am I meant to get up and get on with my days knowing it's just another day I won't speak to her?"

As Gillian Millane read, Grace's killer sat in the dock - eventually showing emotion and hanging his head.

Grace Millane's murderer in the dock at the High Court in Auckland for sentencing. Photo / Dean Purcell
Grace Millane's murderer in the dock at the High Court in Auckland for sentencing. Photo / Dean Purcell

She said since returning from New Zealand her husband had become "seriously unwell" and she blamed that on the stress.

She said finding out Grace's body had been found would haunt her for the rest of her life.

She watched "helpless" as her family struggled.

"I was lost and so heart sick ... since this day I have found myself consumed in my own grief," she said.

Gillian Millane broke down in tears through her statement but did not stop reading.

"Over the past year I have become a person who cannot even recognise myself," she said.

"My Grace's life was stolen ... your barbaric actions towards my Grace is beyond comprehension. No life sentence you receive today will match the life sentence without my Grace.

"But I will do my utmost to ensure that no other family needs to go through what we have endured."

A bereft Gillian Millane managed to read her entire statement without faltering, even through floods of tears.

"You have ripped a whole in my heart ... you walked into our lives and destroyed Grace in pursuit of your own sexual gratification," she said.

Nearly three weeks of trial, 39 witnesses, and just over five hours of jury deliberation returned a unanimous guilty verdict in the case of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane.

"Now my family will never be the same. So many other innocent people including your own family have had their world destroyed.

"I want you to know I don't think of you because if I did that means I care about you and I simply don't.

"I will miss my darling Grace until the last breath in my body leaves me ... the laughter, the conversations, the memories ...

"You will never be forgotten my darling, you will always be my sunshine."

Before Gillian Millane read the court heard from other family members, including Victoria Millane, who is married to Grace's oldest brother Michael.

Grace Millane's sister-in-law Victoria reads her victim impact statement via video link. Photo / Dean Purcell
Grace Millane's sister-in-law Victoria reads her victim impact statement via video link. Photo / Dean Purcell

She said from the moment they met she and Grace became "the very best of friends".

"Grace swiftly became the little sister I have always longed for."

She said the murderer "ripped" Grace away.

"You have left a hole in our hearts," she said.

Victoria Millane revealed she found out that Grace was missing on her husband's birthday.

"It's heartbreaking," she said.

"Upon hearing your confession ... we now faced the unimaginable horror that Grace was dead ... I felt empty, I was in a complete sense of disbelief and numbness. Was this really happening?

"I felt so empty, as though I have no emotion left in me ... I sat on the sofa, shattered."

Victoria Millane said she suffered every day, and had terrifying nightmares.

"I often dream about Grace, about seeing her again ..."

She said she was "absolutely heartbroken" and often felt "physically sick".

"With a heavy heart I take my daughter Harper, aged only two, to Aunty Grace [at her grave] as often as I can," she said.

"Harper will never be given the opportunity to make her own memories with her aunty ... we have many photos but she will never truly remember.

"The day Grace died, part of Michael died too ... he has lost his spark, there is an empty space in his heart."

She said the trial was "incredibly difficult" and the killers actions will "haunt" her forever.

Grace's other older brother Declan then read his statement.

"My sister was a beautiful soul who had drive the drive and passion to the world alight," he said.

"She was extremely funny ... she had an incredible future ahead of her, she had a smile that could light up the room.

"Our family was ripped apart when Grace stopped replying and when she was officially reported missing.

"The following weeks were the hardest and worst weeks of my life - I remember taking the phone call from my dad saying Grace's body had been found and I was instantly sick."

He said he often relived what happened to Grace and though of how scared she must have been.

"As an older brother I felt a duty to protect my sister but there was nothing I could do - I was helpless and lost."

Grace Millane's brother Declan reads his victim impact statement. Photo / Dean Purcell
Grace Millane's brother Declan reads his victim impact statement. Photo / Dean Purcell

Declan Millane said he struggled to sleep after Grace died and suffered "more and more" from depression.

He kept expecting her to come home.

"This person did not just take Grace's life but he took away a piece of my life as well," he said.

"I've not felt whole since my sister's death ... he took so much away from us that we will never get back ... it will be painful for the rest of my life.

"Since December 2018 I have not been the same person ... a part of me died that night and I will never be the same person again.

He told the court he struggled to control his anger since Grace died, and with his emotions.

"It's tough to carry on life as normal following the destruction of my family?

"How do you carry on with life? You've ripped my family apart, and for what?

"How could someone ... take her life? It is truly sickening what happened to my sister."

Declan Millane said he missed everything about his sister - especially speaking to her about life.

"I will miss not being able to watch my sister grow into the woman she was destined to be," he said.

"I will miss my sister for the rest of my life."