THE man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand has pleaded not guilty.
The 26-year-old, whose identity remains protected by law, will face trial on 4 November.
Standing in the dock in a red and white shirt, the accused spoke only to answer to the single charge of murder.
After a 10-minute hearing at Auckland High Court on Wednesday, the suspect was remanded in custody and will reappear on 3 April for a pre-trial case review.
Grace, from Essex, had started a year-long trip around the world in October and arrived in New Zealand on 20 November.
She disappeared on Saturday December 1, the night before her 22nd birthday.
The backpacker was last seen alive on CCTV at 9.41pm that evening entering the CityLife hotel in Auckland with her alleged killer.
BODY FOUND AT BEAUTY SPOT
But her body was found on December 9 near a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland.
Her desperate family had made emotional appeals to help find her, and cops said the end of the search was an “unbearable time” for them.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said the body was found off a countryside road outside the city, adding “our hearts go out to them [the family].”
Grace’s brother, Declan, posted an emotional tribute to her, writing the lyrics to You Are My Sunshine alongside pictures of them both.
The body tragically was found hours after Grace’s mum posted a picture of her and her daughter on Instagram, as the family hoped for good news.
The spot where the body was found is near the Waitakere Reservoir and dam, a hiking hotspot.
Her dad, millionaire property developer David, 60, had flown to New Zealand earlier in the week, where he made an emotional appeal for help.
Lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter.
Fighting back tears at a press conference, he asked for anyone with information, “any detail, no matter how small”, to come forward.
Mr Millane, from Wickford, Essex, said: “Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter. Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time.
“She’s usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself, her two brothers or members of the family on social media. We have been extremely concerned for her welfare.
“We are all extremely upset and it is very difficult at this time to fully describe the range of emotions we are all going through.”
Two large tents were set up after Grace’s body was found[/caption]
A body was found in the search for the missing British backpacker[/caption]
The body of missing British backpacker Grace is believed to have been found by New Zealand cops[/caption]
Grace and her mum pictured before the 22-year-old went travelling[/caption]
CCTV image issued by Auckland City Police of Grace Millane, 22, at the Sky City centre in Auckland on Saturday evening[/caption]
David Millane, father of missing backpacker Grace, tearful at a press conference in Auckland, New Zealand[/caption]
A picture of missing Grace, of Essex, used by police to appeal for information[/caption]
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