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Grace Millane's father speaks out on daughter's death

Dec 13, 2018

The family of British backpacker Grace Millane has released a statement over her death, describing their grief over the death and gratitude for the support.

Ms Millane was found in bushland in the Waitākere Ranges on Sunday after going missing for about a week on the eve of her 22nd birthday, and today her body was returned to her family.

A 26-year-old man charged with murder appeared in Auckland District Court on Monday and has interim name suppression.

In a statement released today, her father David said it was clear that Ms Millane loved New Zealand and its people and lifestyle from all the messages and photos they received of her travels.

But he said her disappearance had caused them distress.

"After the disappearance of Grace on 1st December 2018 our whole world turned upside down.

"From that very first moment we have been astounded by the level of concern, sympathy and selfless help from every person we have met."

He also thanked all those who sent in messages of love and support during the tragedy.

"We would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion.

"Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks, but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi."

He praised media for their coverage and police for their efforts in the investigation over the course of her disappearance.

"The team, consisting at times of over 24 officers have worked arduous long hours without a day off, little sleep or rest in helping to resolve this heinous crime.

"The media and press have been superb in their coverage and reporting of the events surrounding Grace's tragic final days.

"They have not intruded into our life and have been respectful and courteous at all times."

He also talked about the blessing at the scene where Ms Millane's body was found on Sunday.

"Martin and I had the privilege of attending the traditional Māori blessing of the site which was a lovely and peaceful experience.

Mr Millane said he and his brother will leave for the UK this weekend and take Ms Millane's body home with them.

Meanwhile, tributes continue to flood in for Ms Millane. The first of two vigils held in Auckland tonight for Ms Millane will be held tonight in St Patricks Cathedral Square.

Organised by White Ribbon, the crowd will be addressed by the mayor Phil Goff, as well as White Ribbon ambassadors Anna Campbell and Mark Longley, whose daughter Emily was murdered in England by her boyfriend in 2011.

The vigil at 6pm at St Patrick's Cathedral will be followed by a 7pm event on Federal Street.

Other vigils will be held in Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Read the full statement from David Millane and family here:

Grace went off to travel the world in mid-October and arrived in New Zealand on the 20th November.

By the amount of pictures and messages we received she clearly loved this country, its people and the lifestyle.

After the disappearance of Grace on 1st December 2018 our whole world turned upside down.

I arrived in Auckland on Friday 7th December, followed by my brother Martin on Saturday 8th. From that very first moment we have been astounded by the level of concern, sympathy and selfless help from every person we have met.

Auckland Police have carried out the most concise, stringent and thorough investigation. The team, consisting at times of over 24 officers have worked arduous long hours without a day off, little sleep or rest in helping to resolve this heinous crime.

The media and press have been superb in their coverage and reporting of the events surrounding Grace's tragic final days. They have not intruded into our life and have been respectful and courteous at all times.

Gill, Michael, Declan and myself would sincerely like to thank everybody involved and express our most profound gratitude.

In this difficult situation where everybody is a true hero it is sometimes difficult to single out certain people. Despite this we would like to offer our most sincere thanks and everlasting gratitude to;

Detective Inspector Scott Beard, who has been a most measured, selfless, human and professional face of Auckland Police. His emotional media statements have made him many fans both in New Zealand and at home in the UK.

Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Brand, the hidden driving force of the investigation and a true police professional.

We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world and discovering their own OE.

Martin and I had the privilege of attending the traditional Maori blessing of the site which was a lovely and peaceful experience.

Finally we would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion.

Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks, but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi.

My brother Martin and I leave for the UK this weekend to take her home.

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