British backpacker Grace Millane gave a man she met on a BDSM dating site a list of her sex fetishes, a jury was told today.
Ms Millane, who was killed during a Tinder date in Auckland last December, told a man she contacted through the Whiplr website of her interest in bondage, electrical nerve stimulation and ‘breathplay’ using a gas mask.
A statement given by the man to New Zealand police was read to the jury at Auckland High Court after they were told he had refused to cooperate with defence lawyers.
He described the 22-year-old, whose parents David and Gill listened to the statement from the public gallery, as ‘naive and trusting’.
Grace Millane (pictured) told a man she contacted through the Whiplr website of her interest in bondage, electrical nerve stimulation and ‘breathplay’ using a gas mask
She had contacted him via the Whiplr website for BDSM enthusiasts in the summer of 2018, just before she left Britain on a worldwide adventure, he said.
She told him she had begun her interest in BDSM through a past boyfriend but he said she was still quite naive and, unusually, used her full name on another messaging app they had used.
‘Grace and I discussed our BDSM interests,’ the man, whose identity is protected, had told police.
‘Grace told me she was interested in everything to do with BDSM and her main area of interest was restraint.
Ms Millane contacted the unidentified man via the Whiplr website (pictured) for BDSM enthusiasts in summer of 2018, just before she left Britain on a worldwide adventure, he said
She told him she had begun her interest in BDSM through a past boyfriend but he told the court she was still quite naive
‘In Grace’s Whiplr profile she outlined her sub kink interests as: giving full control, sounds, accessories, restraints, control and massages.
‘I think Grace was at an explorative stage and quite open to suggestions. Grace seemed quite keen to know what things were and what sort of things I owned pertaining to BDSM.
‘I told Grace about my interest in breath-play, electro and water bondage which I had to explain to Grace because she didn’t know about it.
‘I explained my interests with explicit examples of what I have done with partners previously. Grace told me she was quite open to it and said she wanted to try.’
A 27-year-old man, whose identity is also protected, has denied murdering Ms Millane (left and right) on December 1 last year, the night before her 22nd birthday
The court had previously heard a statement from a former partner of Ms Millane’s, who said they had an established practice of choking using safe words and ‘tapping out’ which meant it had never put her in danger.
A 27-year-old man, whose identity is also protected, has denied murdering Ms Millane on December 1 last year, the night before her 22nd birthday.
He claims she died accidentally after asking him to apply pressure to her neck, but in a police interview said he was unaware she had died until he found her on the floor the next morning.
He admits disposing of her body in a suitcase he buried in the woods.
In the statement read today, her Whiplr contact said he and Ms Millane had agreed to meet in person for a drink but she then changed plans.
CCTV shows the defendant inside CityLife hotel in New Zealand with the suitcase loaded onto a luggage trolley – with Grace’s body stuffed inside
The defendant is pictured returning to the hotel with the suitcase he bought after Grace died
The defendant’s identity has been suppressed by the court in Auckland
‘BDSM probably became more popular after 50 Shades of Grey but that is more the soft end of BDSM,’ he said.
‘I don’t recall if Grace ever mentioned 50 Shades of Grey. I felt like Grace was more naive and trusting in the BDSM area. When you’re using these apps, the users do not have to provide any details at all so you have to be aware.
‘The users could be any undesirable person online and Grace seemed to have a naivety.’
The jury were also told about messages Ms Millane exchanged with two unknown men on Whiplr in 2017, in some of which she took the role of a ‘submissive slave’ being given tasks by a dominant ‘master’.
She had said she wished to be ‘fully restrained during sexual activity’, said defence barrister Claire Farquhar.
The court also heard from a leading expert in sexual culture and pornography, Professor Clarissa Smith, from the University of Sunderland.
Shocking pictures shown to the jury revealed the moment police discovered the body of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane dumped in this muddy hole in the ground
Speaking via a video link she said erotic asphyxiation, like other forms of BDSM, was becoming a more mainstream interest for young women and men in the wake of the 50 Shades of Grey book, which has sold 125 million copies.
She described it as ‘a form of play that practitioners call edge play. It makes the heart race, makes the skin tingle, had very significant elements of feeling powerless and offers lightheadedness and exhilaration.’
But Professor Smith said: ‘It’s very important that consent is given.’
She told the court how younger women were increasingly open about sexuality and saying what they wanted and that ‘hook up’ apps were part of ‘a gamification of dating and sexuality.’
‘We are no longer living in the era of lay back and think of England,’ she said.
Another witness told the trial he and Grace had slept together the night before she died after meeting at the backpackers’ hostel where she was staying.
The man, who name is suppressed, said they went to McDonalds before going to his house to watch a movie, then had sex.
He said he may have held her around the neck during sex but not at her request.
It was something he had ‘potentially’ done because it was a habit of his ‘because girls usually enjoy it’, he said.
There was no discussion about it with Ms Millane, who had stayed the night with him.
The defence have closed their case, with the defendant choosing not to give evidence. Prosecution and defence will give closing speeches on Thursday before the judge sums up on Friday.
The trial continues.