Dad of murdered Brit backpacker Grace Millane dies of cancer in second tragedy for family

THE dad of murdered backpacker Grace Millane has died following a secret battle with cancer.

David Millane, 61, who faced down his daughter’s killer in a New Zealand court earlier this year, passed away this week.

It comes after the tragedy-hit family supported Grace’s mum Gillian through her own cancer fight.

The family of Wickford, Essex, were forced to endure devastating details of Grace’s murder after she was lured to a hotel, strangled during sex then buried in a suit case in woodland.

They declined to comment on David’s death but a source close to the family said they had been devastated. 

The source said: “The family has had heartbreak after heartbreak. David’s two sons must be devastated.

“His wife Gillian had her own battle with cancer this year – it’s why she was unable to fly to New Zealand for the court case.

“First the family had to relive the pain of Grace’s death in court and now their dad has died. It is simply tragic beyond words.”


Cops in New Zealand have paid tribute to property developer David, who they worked closely with after Grace disappeared. 

Det Insp Scott Beard said: “The Millane family had their lives turned upside down when David’s much loved and cherished daughter Grace was murdered while visiting New Zealand in December 2018.

“NZ Police worked closely with the Millane family as part of the investigation into Grace’s murder and provided victim support throughout the subsequent trial. 

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Gillian, Michael, Declan and the rest of their whanau (family).”

When Grace disappeared Mr Millane flew to New Zealand and held a press conference at the Auckland Central police station appealing for information.

“Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter. Grace has never been out of contact for this amount of time and is usually in daily contact with either her mother, myself or her two brothers,” he said at the time.

It was later heard that his daughter's killer – who cannot legally be named – lured the gap year backpacker to meet him on a date via Tinder on December 1, 2018, in Auckland.

Grace's body was found in a suitcase buried in a forested area outside the city.

Her twisted killer made sick claims she died accidentally after the pair engaged in rough sex that went too far.

It was agreed that she had died by strangulation.

Grace's killer appeared in Auckland’s high court in February and his sentencing was overseen by Justice Simon Moore.

He had been assessed in his pre-sentencing report as being of “very high risk”, based on his “complex needs” and the severity of the offending.

A jury convicted him of murder and prosecutors successfully argued that the man must serve 17 years before becoming eligible for parole.

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