Grace Millane murder trial: Court shown police interview with accused

The man accused of murdering Grace Millane initially lied to police about what happened on the night of her death. 

In an interview played to the court on Tuesday afternoon, the 27-year-old told an officer the pair went for a drink before they parted ways. 

During his first police interview on December 6 last year, the accused told the officer he said goodbye to Grace Millane after they had a drink on the night she was last seen. He also spoke about how the pair met. 

More coverage of the trial can be found here.

"I was talking to Grace on Tinder, we matched on Friday, I saw we'd matched on Saturday and then I saw a message saying, 'hey', so I messaged back," he told police in the interview.

The body of the British backpacker was found in a suitcase buried in the Waitakere Ranges, a week after she was last seen alive. 

On Tuesday, the court heard from a pathologist who examined her body. 

"I've said the cause of the death is pressure on the neck," said forensic pathologist Dr Simon Stables.

Dr Stables found bruises on Grace Millane's upper arms and shoulder, an internal examination revealing "significant bruising" on one side of her neck. 

"That pressure has been applied for long enough for that bruising to occur and with enough force for that bruising to occur," said Dr Stables.

He told the court it would have taken "quite a bit of strength" to cause such bruising and said it would take four to five minutes of pressure for a person to die from lack of oxygen to the brain. 

The defence said the accused had told police he had put his hands around Grace Millane's neck as part of consensual sex. 

"And if he had done that, and death had resulted, that would be entirely consistent with what you saw as a pathologist?" asked defence lawyer Ian Brookie.

"Yes," Dr Stables replied.

However, Dr Stables said he has never seen a case where strangulation during sex had resulted in death. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the court heard more from a woman who matched on Tinder with the accused in 2018. 

She previously told the court she feared for her life when the accused restricted her breath during a sex act last November.

The defence questioned whether she was telling the truth and asked why she continued to message the man after the alleged incident. 

She replied by saying:

"A person who can almost kill someone by suffocating them... and then suddenly just fake that they had cancer... to try and get me to have sympathy for them... just after he'd nearly killed me... there's a word for that - it's a sociopath."

She also told the court how she believed some of the things the man told her were "far fetched", including that he had cancer and was related to a high-profile sportsman.