Grace Millane: British backpacker gave list of fetishes to man on BDSM website, murder trial told

Defendant denies murder and claims university graduate died accidentally during consensual sex

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 20 November 2019 10:49
CCTV shows suspect 'transporting body of Grace Millane' through hotel in suitcase

British backpacker Grace Millane was “naive and trusting” and gave a list of fetishes to a man through a BDSM website, her murder trial has heard.

The 21-year-old University of Lincoln graduate, from Wickford, Essex, died on 1 December in a hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand, during a trip around the world.

A 27-year-old New Zealand man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is on trial accused of strangling Ms Millane to death after they met through the Tinder dating app.

The defendant denies murder and claims she died accidentally during consensual sex.

A police statement given by a man who spoke to Ms Millane through BDSM dating website Whiplr in the summer of 2018 was read to the jury at Auckland High Court on Wednesday.

He said Ms Millane’s interest in BDSM (bondage, domination and sadomasochism) was “at the explorative stage” and described her as “naive and trusting” having used her full name on one app, the New Zealand Herald reports.

“I felt like Grace was more naive and trusting in the BDSM area,” he said. “The users could be any undesirable person online, and Grace had a naivety.”

The man said Ms Millane told him about her interest in bondage, electrical nerve stimulation and “breathplay” using a gas mask, according to Sky News.

Ms Millane’s Whiplr profile described her interests as “giving full control, sounds, accessories, restraints, controls and massages”, he added.

Parents David and Gillian Millane arrive at Auckland High Court in New Zealand on 6 November 2019 (Getty)

The trial also heard from British sexual culture and pornography expert Professor Clarissa Smith, from the University of Sunderland.

Speaking via video link, Professor Smith said erotic asphyxiation could make the “heart race”, “skin tingle” and have “elements of feeling powerless and offers lightheadedness and exhilaration”, Sky reported.

The court heard how another man met Ms Millane on 30 November and the pair had sex after watching a film at his house.

The man told the court he may have put his hand on her neck during sex without her asking, but that he could not remember and that he “usually” did it “because girls usually enjoy it”.

Security footage played earlier in the trial showed Ms Millane and the defendant drinking at a number of bars and kissing repeatedly.

They were then seen walking arm-in-arm a short distance into the lobby of the CityHigh hotel where the defendant was staying.

Ms Millane was shown to follow the defendant out of the lift at 9.41pm. It was the last time she was seen alive.

The defendant has admitted putting her body inside a suitcase and burying it in the Waitakere Ranges, a mountainous woodland area outside Auckland.

The defence has now closed its case, with the defendant deciding not to give evidence.

The jury has heard all of the evidence, and prosecution and defence will give closing arguments on Thursday.

The trial continues.

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