When was the body of missing Grace Millane found in New Zealand and what is the latest news and updates?

THE disappearance of a 22-year-old British backpacker in New Zealand has ended in a homicide investigation that is sending shock waves across the world.

Here's what we know about Grace Millane, and the circumstances around her death.

Who is Grace Millane?

Grace graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Lincoln in September and went travelling on October 26, 2018.

The outgoing former student spent six weeks in South America as part of a gap year.

She was later hoping to travel to Thailand, the Philippines and Australia.

The 22-year-old from Billericay, Essex, arrived in New Zealand alone on November 19.

What happened to Grace?

Grace was last seen on Saturday, December 1, 2018.

She travelled to the North Island city in late November but alarms bells rang when she failed to respond to birthday well-wishes on her 22nd birthday on December 2.

Grace had been staying at the £10 -a-night Base Backpackers on Queen Street, a popular location for travellers in the centre of the city.

Her family was left baffled after they lost contact with Grace, describing her silence as "completely out of character".

She was last seen on CCTV going into a hotel with a man she is believed to have met on a dating app on the night she vanished.

After a week of frantic searching, police found a body in the hunt that has since been identified as that of Grace near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland.

On December 9, police announced they were investigating the death as homicide.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard added it was an "unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them".

At a news conference, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there was an "overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country".

"On behalf on New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace's family," she said. "Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn't, and I'm sorry for that."

The Sun Online has since revealed that the scenic area where Grace was found, the Waitakere Ranges, has a dark reputation as a body dumping ground.

13-year-old Tracey Ann Patient was found after being strangled and dumped in 1976.

More recently, the body of murder victim Karen Stanley-Hunt was found in the bushes in 1998.

On Thursday, news outlet Stuff reported police located a shovel that they said was related to the murder.

On the opening day of the trial it was claimed she died after being choked during a sexual encounter with her alleged killer.

The Auckland High Court heard how Grace and the defendant visited several bars in the New Zealand capital and their date is said to have ended with the pair going back to where the suspect lived at a CityLife hotel, where they were said to have engaged in a sexual encounter.

Ian Brookie, the defence lawyer for the 27-year-old man who cannot be named, claimed Grace died while taking part in a consensual sex act, asking him to choke her.

But the prosecution argued it was murder, saying it was obvious from the 27-year-old defendant's actions after her death that it was no accident.

Who is the suspect?

Police in New Zealand have charged a 27-year-old Kiwi suspect, who was said to have been living in the hotel where she was last seen alive.

The suspect appeared in blue police-issue overalls at Auckland District Court on Monday, December 10, after a body believed to be Grace's was found over the weekend.

The man – whose occupation is unknown – is alleged to have killed Grace between December 1 and 2, The New Zealand Herald reports.

He was seen entering the £130-a-night CityLife Hotel with Grace last Saturday and has since been charged with her murder.

The 27-year-old allegedly called Grace “beautiful, very radiant” on social media just 11 minutes before she was seen alive for the last time, entering a hotel with a man.

Pals said he had moved into an apartment in the CityLife hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, after getting cash from his grandparents.

A family friend said he dated a number of British backpackers and liked “the admiration of young females”.

The man cannot be named due to a temporary suppression order which is in place as he awaits trial.

But Google is under fire after sending out a mass email to subscribers in New Zealand who received the top trends in the country.

The search engine giant has denied knowing about the court order, but could be prosecuted if the email can be traced to any of the search company’s New Zealand’s infrastructure.

What has Grace's family said?

Detectives said Grace's family are "devastated" by the news.

Her brother Declan Millane wrote out the lyrics to You Are My Sunshine, along with a series of pictures of them both, as the desperate hunt to find her came to a close.

The 22-year-old's brother wrote: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.

"You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away."

Her dad, millionaire property developer David, 60, had flown to New Zealand earlier in the week, where he made an emotional appeal for help.

He described his daughter as "lovely" and "family-orientated" and said that she had been "bombarding" them with messages and photos before her disappearance.

Grace's funeral will take place on January 10th in Essex at Brentwood Cathedral.

Timeline of British backpacker Grace Millane murder investigation

November 20 – Grace arrives in New Zealand after travelling in Peru

December 1 – She is seen at the CityLife Hotel, in Auckland, with a 'male companion'

December 2 – Her family hear nothing from her on her 22nd birthday. On the same day a red Toyota Corolla hatchback is rented from a car hire firm

December 5 – A missing persons report is filed by her worried family

December 6 – Police release an image of Grace leaving the hostel on the evening of December 1

December 7 – Her dad David Millane makes an emotional plea for help as police reveal they have spoken to the male companion

December 8 – A 26-year-old man is taken into custody

December 9 – Police find a body they believe to be Grace

December 10 – A 26-year-old man appears in court charged with her murder

What have police found?

Police have not yet released the results of a post-mortem, however, investigating officer Detective Inspector Scott Beard said that the graduate's body was found "intact".

Detectives revealed that several of Grace's possessions, including her passport, were missing.

They were also searching an apartment at the £130-a-night CityLife hotel, 300 yards from a hostel where Grace was booked to stay.

Police released images of her necklace and watch and urged anyone who recognised the items to come forward.

They also seized a "vehicle of interest" on Saturday.

The red Toyota Corolla hatchback was hired from a central Auckland rental firm just before lunchtime on December 2, the day after Grace was last seen alive.

Cops have appealed for sightings of the car in the west Auckland area between 6.30am and 9.30am on Monday, December 3.

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