Grace Millane murder trial: Jury to watch murder-accused's police interview

A filmed police interview with the man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane will continue to play at his trial in the Auckland High Court on Wednesday.

In the afternoon of December 6, 2018 - only days after the Crown alleges the man murdered Millane via strangulation - the accused spoke with police at the Auckland Central police station and answered questions about his relationship with the then-missing woman.

More coverage of the trial can be found here.

The first part of that interview was played at his murder trial on Tuesday, with the jury of seven women and five men watching the accused talk about his background.

He told Detective Ewen Settle in the video that he recently moved back to New Zealand after living in Australia for several years. He had taken anxiety medication and participated in counselling after his parents broke up.

The accused also spoke of how he met the woman he would later be accused of killing. 

"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 Det Settle.

He was the one to suggest meeting at SkyCity on the night of December 1. He chose the popular complex in case Millane was a "catfish" - meaning someone who uses another identity on a dating application to trick a potential match. By meeting at the crowded SkyCity, the man said he felt "safe" if she wasn’t real.

"We met outside [SkyCity] on the front doors, I gave her a hug, she gave me a hug," he said. This was something the jury previously saw via CCTV footage.

The pair meeting.
The pair meeting. Photo credit: Supplied.

At Andy's Burger Bar, the pair spoke a lot about her travels and that she was planning to stay in New Zealand until June. The accused said she was looking for bar-tending work.

After having multiple alcoholic beverages, the accused told Det Settle they left the bar and parted ways on Victoria St West and then walked to opposite sides of Queen St. He said he spent a couple of hours at a pub and had arranged to meet a friend later that evening.

This version of events would later be contradicted by CCTV footage showing the pair go to two other restaurants and then onto the CityLife hotel where the woman was allegedly killed.

Asked in the video how the evening panned out, the accused answered: "Pretty good".

The rest of the police interview will be shown to the jury on Wednesday. Det Settle will speak about the footage and likely answer questions by the Defence about it.

While the Crown alleges the man went onto murder Millane in the hotel room, the Defence argues her death was an accident after consensual rough sex went wrong. 

Her body was found in a suitcase buried in the Waitakere Ranges on December 9 last year.