David Millane, the father of murdered British backpacker Grace, has died, police have confirmed.
Millane had been diagnosed with cancer, RNZ understands. He died in his hometown in England this week.
David Millane travelled to New Zealand after his daughter disappeared in December 2018, on the eve of her 22nd birthday, while she was on her OE.
He made an emotional public plea for any help to find her, saying she was a “lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter”.
Her body was eventually found in a suitcase, buried in a shallow grave in the Waitākere Ranges.
Millane attended one of the vigils organised in the aftermath of his daughter’s death, in central Auckland.
David and his wife Gillian were in the High Court in Auckland last year for the three-week trial of the now-28-year-old man who was found guilty of murdering their daughter.
After the verdict, David broke down while speaking to media saying while it would bring the family some relief, but “it will not reduce the pain and suffering we’ve had to endure over the past year.
“Grace was taken away from us in the most brutal fashion a year ago and our lives and family have been ripped apart. This will be with us for the rest of our lives.
“Grace was a beautiful, talented, loving daughter, Grace was our sunshine and she will be missed forever.”
He did not give a victim impact statement to the court when his daughter’s murderer was sentenced in February.
However, Gillian Millane did. In her victim impact statement to the court, she spoke about how her daughter had been a huge support to her during her own battle with breast cancer.
In a statement, Detective Inspector Scott Beard – who led the murder investigation and attended Grace’s funeral – said the Millane family had their lives turned upside down when Grace was murdered.
“New Zealand police worked closely with the Millane family as part of the investigation into Grace’s murder and provided victim support throughout the subsequent trial,” he said.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Gillian, Michael, Declan and the rest of their whānau.”
The family has asked for privacy.
The 28-year-old man who murdered Grace Millane cannot be named.
He appealled his conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal and a decision is still to be released.