The dad of murdered backpacker Grace Millane has tragically died after a short battle with cancer.
David Millane’s diagnosis is understood to have come shortly after the trial of his daughter's killer in February.
The cancer was already at an advanced stage, and Mr Millane died earlier this week in his home town of Wickford, Essex, Daily Mail Australia reported.
Mr Millane had travelled to New Zealand while police were still searching for Grace – his wife Gillian was unable to travel at the time because she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Mr Millane’s death is a bitter blow for his family, coming as Grace’s killer is mounting an appeal against his 17-year sentence.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard, the New Zealand investigator who led the investigation into Grace’s death, has issued a statement expressing his sympathy for Grace's family.
It reads: “The Millane family had their lives turned upside down when David’s much loved and cherished daughter Grace was murdered while visiting New Zealand in December 2018,” he said.
“NZ Police worked closely with the Millane family as part of the investigation into Grace’s murder,” he continued, “and provided victim support throughout the subsequent trial".
He added that his entire team’s thoughts and sympathies were with Mr Millane’s wife Gillian and the rest of her family.
Grace Millane's sick killer took 'intimate photos' of body and 'eroticised' murder
DI Beard himself was diagnosed with cancer shortly before the trial of Grace’s killer was due to start.
Grace Millane was strangled to death on December 2, 2018, in a hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand, on her 22nd birthday.
She had met a 26-year-old man, who cannot currently be named for legal reasons, via hookup website Tinder.
Grace's body was found on December 9 buried in a shallow grave at the Waitakere Ranges National Park just outside Auckland.
The man responsible for her death claimed in court that she had died during rough sex that had “gone wrong.”
It emerged during his trial that the man had searched for "flesh-eating birds" and "are there vultures in New Zealand?" on his mobile phone at the time of her death.
Crown Prosecutor Brian Dickey said that the defendant had "eroticised" the murder and taken photos of the advertising and marketing student's dead, naked body.
After the trial ended, David Millane said the family would return home to the UK and “try and pick up the pieces” following Grace's death.
Grace's killer was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum term of 17 years.
He is currently appealing against both his sentence and his conviction.
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