Grace Millane: Detective Scott Beard says rough sex shouldn't be a defence

Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard has spoken out after Grace Millane's murderer was sentenced to life in prison.  

The 28-year-old, who has name suppression, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years in the Auckland High Court on Friday. 

On November 22, 2019 he was found guilty of murdering the 22-year-old tourist in a hotel room.

Beard told media the sentencing brings to a close a long and difficult time for the Millane family. He acknowledged the impact Grace's murder had on them. 

"Losing their daughter on her birthday in a foreign country has been devastating and regardless of this outcome, they will always have a life sentence." 

He said the sentencing reflects the gravity and impact of the murderer's actions on the family and the country.

"Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Grace's family and her friends as they continue to make sense of a senseless and needless murder."

He also addressed the rough sex defence that was used during the trial. 

The murderer continues to maintain his innocence, claiming he accidentally strangled Grace during a consensual sexual act. 

However, Beard said strangling someone "for five to 10 minutes until they die is not rough sex". 

He said the defence repeatedly re-victimises the victim and the victim's family. 

"The Millanes had to sit through a trial for a number of weeks and their daughter's background, rightly or wrongly, was out in the public.

"I don't believe that rough sex should be a defence, I understand why the defence would use it, but the bottom line is that the individual has killed someone."

Beard said Grace's family is pleased with the sentence, but it won't bring her back. 

"I've just spoken to the family, they are pleased... it does mean they can move on somewhat with their lives, but like I said they will never get Grace back."

He said it has been difficult for everyone involved and acknowledged that the defence was just doing their job. 

"As hard as it is for the family and public to understand why the defence do what they do... it is their job." 

Beard also thanked the police and public for their help during the investigation. 

"I would like to thank the police staff who have worked tirelessly on this investigation. They were professional, they were hard-working and they were determined to find justice for Grace.

"I also want to thank the New Zealand public for the messages of support they sent the Millane family... it is absolutely unbelievable."