Shocking CCTV of body stuffed in suitcase
Jurors have been shown CCTV of the moment the suspected killer of British tourist Grace Millane smuggled her body out of a hotel in a suitcase after allegedly strangling her to death on a Tinder date in New Zealand.
The footage shows the suspect using a hefty porter's trolley to wheel two cases into a lift at a hotel in Auckland.
The powerfully-built man was first seen wheeling the trolley into the elevator at the CityLife hotel where he lived full time and going up to his $360-a-week room, reported The Sun.
Shortly afterwards, he returned with it laden with two suitcases, one of which he has since admitted contained university graduate Ms Millane's naked body folded into a foetal position.
Minutes later he is seen emerging from the lift and pushing the trolley across the floor of the lobby.
The UK backpacker's parents were seen wiping away tears in the public gallery as the clip was shown in court.
Property developer David Millane, 61, and his wife Gill, from Wickford in Essex, east of London, have sat through every day of the harrowing murder trial hearing how their daughter died the night before her 22nd birthday.
Today, they saw how cameras captured her date, a 27-year-old local man, buying a suitcase and a shovel and transporting her body in a red Toyota hatchback he rented the day she died in December last year.
And a former journalist told how she shared a date with the suspect as Ms Millane's body lay in his hotel room.
After leaving the bar following the date, she went out of her way to avoid him after becoming "uncomfortable" at the suspect talking about women being accidentally killed during sex.
She claims he told her: "It's crazy how guys can make one wrong move and go to jail for the rest of their life."
She told jurors: "He said he had heard of a guy who asked his girlfriend to have rough sex with him including strangulation or suffocation and it had gone wrong and she had died in the process and he had got done for manslaughter.
"He was very intense, quite calm though. He seemed a bit aloof and not quite judging how I was responding to the story.
"I just felt a bit uncomfortable. I changed the topic to travelling in the South Island.
"I felt uncomfortable with him so I just lied and said my car was in the opposite way.
"He wrote to me later by text saying, hey, I had a really great time would you like to do it again? and I said no, I wouldn't."
The trial has already heard claims he used the case to transport Ms Millane's body in a car to remote woodland where he buried it in a shallow grave.
Jurors were also shown images of the shocking moment detectives found the suitcase with Ms Millane's body inside buried in a wooded area outside Auckland.
Gripping video of the suspect's first police interview was earlier played to the jury at his murder trial.
For more than an hour, the 27-year-old gave an account packed with details of how he said he had spent the night of his Tinder date with Ms Millane five days before.
With a photograph of the young university graduate, then being treated as a missing person, on the table in front of him he claimed he had said goodbye to Ms Millane with "a hug and a kiss on the cheek".
He added that he had hoped to see her the next day to celebrate her 22nd birthday.
Then he told Detective Sergeant Ewen Settle, he had gone to meet a work colleague but ended up drinking himself into a stupor in a pub and waking up in his apartment the next day.
He was a heavy drinker at weekends, he said, when he tended to "go crazy", and after sharing cocktails with Ms Millane he had gone to a bar and drunk 10 beers.
The suspect said he woken up the next morning, had "a bit of a vomit" looked at his phone and seen it was 10am.
He had tried to text Ms Millane on Tinder the next day but she had unmatched him.
Later that morning he had gone for "a scotch fillet, medium rare, with mushrooms, chips and salad" for breakfast before having a nap and going to meet a friend from work, he told Det Sgt Settle.
The detective told him the search for Ms Millane, whose parents had reported her missing the previous day, was ongoing and he asked if the alleged killer would give a voluntary DNA sample.
"100 per cent," said the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons. "I know I haven't done anything wrong so I'm happy to do it."
"We are very, very concerned for her safety," Det Sgt Settle said. "She might be dead and it could be that you've done it."
The jury of seven women and five men watched, however, as instead of proceeding with the DNA sample, Det Sgt Settle told him: "We have reached a point where we have to advise you of your rights."
He showed the man a photograph of him entering the CityLife hotel, where he lived, at 8.15am on the Sunday with a suitcase he had bought that morning and told him: "You haven't told the truth. You've told a lie."
The man said: "I'm being truthfully honest with you, I've still got that bag in my room.
It came from The Warehouse (a New Zealand chain store similar to Kmart). I bought it that day because I was having to move all the stuff out of my room."
In fact, the trial has already heard he used the suitcase to take Ms Millane's body in a hire car to remote, dense woodland where he buried it in a shallow grave early on Monday morning.
Prosecutors have said he bought a second, identical suitcase which was left in his room at CityLife.
He is accused of strangling Ms Millane, from Essex, during sex before watching a string of hardcore pornographic videos on his mobile phone.
The man says she died accidentally after asking him to choke her during sex to increase her enjoyment.
This article first appeared in The Sun and is reproduced with permission.