Grace Millane killer sentenced to a minimum 17 years
A NEW Zealand man will spend at least 17 years behind bars for the murder of British backpacker Grace Millane, who he met on a Tinder date.
Justice Simon Moore on Friday sentenced the 28-year-old, whose name cannot be published for legal reasons, to life in prison with a minimum parole period of 17 years at the Auckland High Court, a court spokeswoman confirmed.
The court on Friday heard three victim impact statements via audio-visual link from Millane's family in Essex.
"I am absolutely heartbroken that you have taken my daughter's future and robbed me of so many more memories that we were going to create," her mother said, Radio New Zealand reported.
The man was found guilty of strangling the 21-year-old after meeting her in Auckland on the eve of her 22nd birthday on December 1, 2018.
He had denied the charge and his defence claimed that the victim's death was an accident at a "perfectly ordinary" consensual casual sexual encounter between two young people.
During the three-week-trial jurors heard that the accused put Millane's body in a suitcase, rented a car and buried it in an area of bush about 25 kilometres from Auckland, where her body was found a week later.
The court also heard that the accused took intimate photos of the victim after her death and went on another date arranged on Tinder the following day.
The young woman's death sparked vigils in her memory across New Zealand and overseas.