New Zealander found guilty of murdering UK tourist

A New Zealand court on Friday found a man guilty of murdering a British woman in Auckland, above, while she was on a world tour after her graduation late last year, local reports say. 

The accused, whose name was not revealed by the court for legal reasons, strangled Grace Millane to death while having consensual sex with her in his hotel room hours after they met via dating app Tinder on Dec 1.

The sentencing will take place at 9am on February 21 next year. The man faces a minimum of 10 years in jail without parole.

While the accused showed no emotion, some of the jury members and Millane’s parents were in tears when the verdict was pronounced after five hours of deliberation.

Before the verdict, Justice Simon Moore told the 12-member jury it was a difficult case and it is never easy to judge a fellow man.

Welcoming the verdict, the victim’s father David said it still cannot lessen the pain and suffering the family had to endure.

Millane’s father said she was beautiful, talented and loving and that the sunshine had gone out of their lives after her death the eve of her 22nd birthday.

The accused pleaded he was not guilty and that Millane died during a sex game gone horribly wrong.

His lawyers argued that she encouraged him to choke her, but he went too far and panicked when she fell unconscious and died.

He disposed her body in a bush and cleaned up the crime scene because he thought no one would believe how she died.

The prosecutors rubbished the defence team’s arguments and said the man had morbid sexual propensities and he wanted total domination over his victim.

Had the accused been mentally disturbed as he claimed, he would not have taken intimate photos of her body, searched online for a remote site to dump it, watched pornography for a while and found another woman through Tinder for his next sexual tryst.

The accused knew what he was doing and he intentionally killed her, they argued.

The court also heard the testimony of a woman who said he choked her without her consent while they were having sex.

Millane’s death upset New Zealanders who are proud of their country as a tourist-friendly nation.