The unidentified man on trial for killing British backpacker Grace Millane, who went missing last December, has been found guilty of murder by a New Zealand jury.
Over the course of the three week trial defense attorneys attempted to frame Millane’s death, found to be strangulation, as a consensually rough sex act gone wrong, revealing intimate details from her personal life, the Washington Post reports. The media subsequently latched on to these details, further pushing the defense’s victim-blaming narrative as if someone’s sexual history has anything to do with their murder.
The anonymous man (whose name is held by the courts due to New Zealand’s privacy laws) met Millane at a hotel for drinks in Auckland before going to his hotel room. In the morning he reportedly searched for “large bags near me,” “rigor mortis,” and “flesh-eating birds,” as well as taking photos of Millane’s body and watching porn on his phone. He put her body in a suitcase and buried the case at the Waitakere Ranges.
Despite the man’s claims that his choking of Millane was consensual, a forensic pathologist told the court that the man continued to choke her after she had passed out, knowing “that they were hurting her, causing her harm.”
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for February. “Grace was taken from us in the most brutal fashion,” Millane’s father David told reporters after the verdict was delivered. “Our lives have been ripped apart. This will be with us for the rest of our lives.”