GRACE Millane was murdered by a man “seeking total domination” by choking life from her, a prosecutor said as a jury prepared to decide his fate.
The British backpacker‘s killer had “some sort of weird thrill over women who were his sexual partners”, a court heard today.
Grace and the defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons[/caption]
He had then taken “trophy photographs” of the 22-year-old because of a “morbid interest in a dead woman’s genitalia”, the prosecutor said.
Pros Brian Dickey made his closing speech at Auckland High Court saying there was a “compelling case of murder” against the 27-year-old defendant, who claims Grace died after consenting to being choked during sex.
‘IT’S NOT SAFE SEX’
“It’s not safe sex play that killed Grace Millane, it’s strangulation,” said Mr Dickey.
“At some point of which she lost consciousness and would have become limp and lifeless and he had to carry on.
“And if that’s not reckless murder someone will have to explain to me what is.”
Mr Dickey said evidence by expert pathology witnesses was clear that it would take between five and ten minutes of sustained pressure before Grace, a university graduate from Essex, would have died.
And he said the Crown did not have to prove the man, whose identity is protected, had meant to kill her, only that he was reckless about what he was doing.
“If you kill someone by conscious risk taking that is murder,” he said.
“If you are satisfied he knew that he was doing something that was causing some level of harm.”
Mr Dickey dismissed the man’s version of events in a second police interview, where he claimed he had fallen asleep in the shower of his apartment and found Grace dead on the floor hours later, as a “labyrinth of storytelling.”
He had lied about trying to take an overdose of pills after she died because “he’s trying to make out he’s a decent human being”, he said.
Dr Simon Stables described Grace’s death Auckland’s High Court[/caption]
‘EROTICISED HER DEATH’
In fact, said Mr Dickey, the man had been searching for a place and a way of disposing of Grace’s body and then taken seven intimate photographs of her before watching hardcore porn.
These were all facts he had avoided telling police when he admitted Grace had died in his room after a Tinder date last December.
“There’s really no way out of the photographs for the defendant,” said Mr Dickey. If they were taken while she was alive, he said, it was proof he was already planning her death and disposal.
If she was dead, he said, it proved the man had “eroticised her death.”
“You mustn’t forget she is just a living, breathing, happy young woman,” he told the jury of seven women and five men. “She had a nice evening out. She had met someone she was interested in. She was walking around town, had some kissing.
“We are not talking about a body we are talking about a real person.”
Mr Dickey said the man’s claim to police that he was distressed by what had happened to “a person he had a real connection with”, could be dismissed by the way he treated her with “a complete and utter absence of dignity.”
Rather than calling emergency services he had bought cleaning supplies and arranged another Tinder date for that afternoon.
And he said the man had still never admitted to causing her death, only “a little touchy touchy on the throat.”
‘DID NOTHING WRONG’
The defence, said Mr Dickey, are not admitting murder or manslaughter, but instead: “saying no foul, accident, he should walk free. It’s a terrible business but he didn’t do anything wrong.”
And, he said, the defence claimed what the accused did after Grace’s death was down to panic and did not help the jury decide how she died.
In fact, said Mr Dickey, the defendant had been “nonchalant” as he went to buy a second suitcase to replace the one in which he buried Grace’s body in the woods.
“He was cool as a cucumber, able to say to Detective Settle, ‘Don’t worry about that, that’s still in my room, go and have a look. I haven’t bought a suitcase to dispose of a body.
“That’s the level of planning, almost as if he is playing a game with the police, that tells you something about his mindset.
“He’s pretty good at this.”
Mr Dickey said Grace’s sexual history, during which she practised consensual choking with a former partner, was irrelevant.
Her death, he said, “is not sex gone wrong.
“It can’t be consent because of what was happening. She must have gone limp and he must have carried on and that must be murder.”
Defence counsel Ian Brookie will address the jury this afternoon.
Grace’s parents, David and Gillian Millane, outside court[/caption]