Grace Millane murder trial: Accused found guilty of murder

The 27-year-old man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in December 2018 has been found guilty of murder.

The man - who continues to have name suppression - has been on trial at the Auckland High Court for the last three weeks before a jury of seven women and five men who presented their verdict on Friday.

Watching from the front row of the public gallery throughout the trial was David and Gillian Millane, the young woman's parents who flew to Aotearoa for the trial. They were surrounded each day by a massive crowd of onlookers, with the gallery frequently overflowing, forcing people to sit on the ground or stand around the entry doors of courtroom 11.

More coverage of the trial can be found here.

The young artist from Essex, England, was in New Zealand on an overseas experience, having travelled here from South America. 

She was reported missing on December 5 after she failed to contact her family on her birthday on December 2.

The backpacker's disappearance spurred a police investigation that gripped the nation and shocked the world.

Social media networks were inundated with missing person posts shared by her family while David Millane flew to New Zealand to make an appeal for information. 

On December 8, a 27-year-old man - who had been seen on CCTV footage entering an Auckland hotel with Millane -  was charged with her murder. The young Brit's body was found a day later in a bush off Scenic Dr in the Waitakere Ranges.

Vigils across the country were held in the backpacker's honour, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made a personal apology to Millane's family for what had happened to the young woman.

David Millane would release a statement, saying his daughter would "forever be a Kiwi".

Over the following months, the man accused of murdering Millane would plead not-guilty to the charge and receive name suppression. 

His trial eventually began on November 4, originally set down for four weeks.

Grace Millane met the accused on Tinder and the pair had a date on the night of December 1.

After that roughly four-hour-long date, the pair went to the CityLife hotel. Millane would never reemerge alive. 

The main point of dispute before the jury throughout the trial was what happened inside the CityLife hotel between 9:41pm on the night of December 1 and the early morning of December 2 - Millane's 22nd birthday. 

The Crown alleged the accused murdered the young woman.

Two pathologists - one called by the Crown and one by the defence - gave evidence during the trial, and while their exact description of cause of death differed, they agreed restriction of breath was pivotal to Millane's demise.

It was the defence's argument that her death was an accident during a form of rough, consensual sex gone wrong and that the accused had no motive to murder the young backpacker.

On Friday the jury found him guilty of the murder of Grace Millane.