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Man arrested over MURDER of British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand

Man arrested over MURDER of British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand

New Zealand police have said they are treating the disappearance of British backpacker Grace Millane as a homicide inquiry, and are speaking to a 26-year-old man.

"The issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her".

"Sadly, the evidence we have gathered to this point of the enquiry has established that this is a homicide", Auckland City Police's Detective Inspector Scott Beard said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.

The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at 9.41pm the same day at the Citylife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a "male companion".

Ms Millane, 22, from Essex, England, was last seen at an Auckland hotel almost a week ago.

A 26-year-old man is now being held in connection with the murder, Det Insp Beard added.

This afternoon police said they had assessed Millane's property left at the backpackers where she was staying - and found some items missing.

He added: "I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight".

Her father, David Millane, has travelled to New Zealand and held an emotional press conference yesterday.

Searches have also been carried out at the backpackers' accommodation where she was staying.

Grace Millane: Police start murder inquiry

She failed to check in with family, which is very out of character for her, they say.

Detectives searching for her said several of her possessions, including her passport, are also missing.

Millane's father David, a millionaire property developer, flew into New Zealand early yesterday.

"Grace's family have been advised of this development and they are devastated".

"She arrived here on the 20th of November, and has been bombarding us with numerous photographs and messages of her adventures", Millane said.

"Grace is still missing and we want to find her", he added. I'm not going to speculate on how they met.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said a scene examination at the hotel is continuing and investigators were progressing with the viewing of hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

On Saturday police released images of a pink watch and a necklace belonging to her and asked for the public's help in finding them.

Beard wouldn't say whether police had seen footage of the man leaving CityLife Hotel or if he thought Millane was killed in the hotel, a large apartment-style complex. "We are all extremely upset, and it's very hard at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are going through".

Described as "fun loving, outgoing and [a] family-orientated person", Millane was never out of contact with family and friends for this long, her family said.

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