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Jury retires to consider verdict in Grace Millane trial

Grace Millane died on the weekend of her 22nd birthday

One woman, who'd previously dated the man, testified she had feared for life during a sexual encounter with him after the man had sat on her face, restricting her breathing without her consent.

Ms Millane's parents were present throughout the trial.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Grace Millane's parents, who were seated in the first row of the public gallery, broke down in tears and embraced each other as they heard the guilty verdict.

Internet searches showed him actively plotting to hide the murder - while CCTV showed him hiring a vehicle, buying cleaning products, a shovel and a suitcase which he used to remove her body from his hotel room and bury in the woods.

Earlier this afternoon, the High Court at Auckland jury had returned to the court to ask the judge a question - and the jury foreperson had indicated that a verdict would not be be far away.

Grace Millane, 21, traveled to New Zealand last November from South America as part of a yearlong trip around the world following college graduation. "There is powerful evidence in this case that Grace was murdered ... because the person doing that must have known that they were hurting her, causing her harm, that might well cause her death, but they were reckless and carried on, and she died".

Her father David Millane told journalists: "This will be with us for the rest of our lives". "It will not reduce the pain, the suffering we've had to endure for over the past year". "She did not deserve to be murdered in such a barbaric way during her gap year".

She was strangled by a man she went on a date with after matching on the Tinder app.

Prosecutors also cast doubt on the claim that the defendant had unintentionally taken things too far in a moment of passion, pointing out that strangling someone takes "sustained effort and strength", and that it's extremely rare for consensual choking to result in death.

After hearing from almost 39 witnesses over almost three weeks they were presented with two different narratives about what happened to Millane on that fateful night. The killer, who can not be named by court order, is to be sentenced February 21. "Finally, we must return home and try and pick up the pieces of our lives on a day-to-day without our beloved Grace".

He strangled Millane to death in his CityLife hotel room and then took "trophy" photos of her body, Dickey told them.

Justice Moore told the jury "it is never easy to judge a fellow man".

After the man killed Millane, he stuffed her body into a suitcase, drove to the Waitakere Ranges forest and buried her in a shallow grave, where police found her body a week later. "This has been a particularly hard trial".

The judge thanked the jurors for their service in what he called a particularly hard case.

Justice Moore said: "It is not limited to the beginning".

The killer had "freaked out", his chief of defence Ian Brookie said, before then lying to police and trying cover it up.

"He wasn't distressed or concerned by her death", prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said, according to the BBC.