Grace Millane murder: Court to hear killer's appeal of conviction, sentence

The man found guilty of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane will have his appeal heard in court on Thursday.

The man, whose identity remains suppressed, was found guilty last November of murdering Millane in December 2018. In February, Justice Simon Moore sentenced the man to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.

He is appealing both his conviction and his sentence and will be represented at the appeal by Rachael Reed QC. His lawyers at trial were Ian Brookie, Ron Mansfield and Claire Farquhar.

The appeal will be overseen by Justice Kos, Justice Cooper and Justice Courtney.

During the trial, the Crown said the man murdered Millane by strangulation, but the man denied it was murder, arguing her death was an accident during a form of rough consensual sex.

Millane died on either the evening of December 1 or the early morning of December 2. The pair had been on a four-hour Tinder date at several central Auckland establishments before they went to an apartment in an Auckland hotel. Millane would never leave alive.

Having not heard from the young woman - whose 22nd birthday was on December 2 - Millane's British family filed a missing person report and police launched an investigation.

On December 8, her now-convicted killer was arrested, and a day later, Millane's body was found in a suitcase in the Waitakere Ranges. 

In the second of two police interviews prior to his arrest, the man admitted the pair went back to the hotel and claimed she died after attempting a form of rough sex which included him putting his hands on her neck at her request. He said he fell asleep in the shower and came back into the hotel room to find her bleeding from her nose. 

In his February sentencing remarks, Justice Moore said the jury's verdict meant they rejected parts of his defence, including that Millane consented to "you putting your hands around her neck and applying and sustaining the level of pressure which led to her death".

The man was given name suppression following his arrest.