Sentencing of backpacker’s killer won’t bring comfort for Grace Millane’s family

The family of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane say the sentencing of her killer will not help them overcome their grief.

Grace, from Wickford, Essex, was strangled by a man she met on a dating app in New Zealand in 2018, the day before her 22nd birthday.

Her body was later found inside a suitcase which was buried in a shallow grave in a forested area outside Auckland.

The 28-year-old man, who can not be named for legal reasons, was found guilty at Auckland High Court in November and will be sentenced later today – Friday morning Aukland time.

But Grace’s cousin, Hannah O’Callaghan, told BBC Breakfast the end of the court case will bring little solace to the family.

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She said: “The sentence will not change the fact that Grace is gone.

"Every week is going to be a big week. It's not closure."

But she refused to blame dating apps, insisting her cousin just met the "wrong person."

“This could have happened anywhere, anytime. It's not because of a dating app," Hannah added.

“She went on a date and met the wrong person.

"People shouldn't change the way they live because of this. It was one individual who did this."

The family have set up a charity in her memory, called Love Grace, where handbags and toiletries are collected for domestic abuse victims.

The project is now running in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Britain.

Hannah described it as a "really fitting tribute” and added: “It's allowed her to express her grief.

"Sometimes when things like this happen you do feel useless.

“You can't change it so let's make some positives out of our negative.”

Grace had loved the idea of travelling since the age of 11 and sold her artwork online to fund her trip.

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