11 Jan 2019

'Grace's Day': Hundreds attend funeral for British backpacker Grace Millane

8:44 pm on 11 January 2019

The funeral service of killed British backpacker Grace Millane has taken place near her home in Essex.

Grace Millane

Grace Millane was travelling through New Zealand for two weeks when she was killed. Photo: Supplied / Facebook

The 22-year-old was last seen at a hostel in Auckland, New Zealand on 1 December. Her body was found a week later on the outskirts of the city.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with her murder and remains in custody.

Hundreds of mourners gathered for the Requiem Mass at Brentwood Cathedral on what Ms Millane's family has called "Grace's Day".

Among those at the funeral was New Zealand Detective Inspector Scott Beard, who lead the investigation into her death, and and the family liaison officer.

NZ Police said it was a mark of respect to the family and as part of their commitment to supporting them.

Ms Millane had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

Her family in Wickford became concerned when the University of Lincoln graduate failed to respond to birthday messages on 2 December.

Ms Millane's father flew to New Zealand and was there when police discovered the body of his daughter on 8 December.

Officers believe she was killed between 1 December and 2 December.

Her father flew back to the UK with Ms Millane's body, but said "in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi".

David Millane (L), father of missing tourist Grace Millane, and Detective Inspector Scott Beard.

David Millane (L), father of missing tourist Grace Millane, and Detective Inspector Scott Beard, pictured in December during the investigation. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Writing on social media ahead of Ms Millane's funeral, her brother Declan described Thursday as "Grace's Day".

Mourners gathered outside the Roman Catholic cathedral as the hearse bearing her coffin arrived.

Six pallbearers, including her brothers Michael and Declan and her father, carried the coffin inside.

The pages of the order of service for the Requiem Mass - which began with the hymn Amazing Grace - were decorated with some of the paintings that keen artist Ms Millane had created.

Speaking after the service, Father John Corbyn, who led the mass, said: "They are a very strong family.

"You can perceive a great deal of love and bonding and strength within that family, and they have many friends who will, I believe, help them."

Following the service, the family had said she would be buried in the village of Ramsden Bellhouse.

- BBC

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