A photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand.
A photo of British backpacker Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square on December 12, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Murdered backpacker’s final kind act

MURDERED backpacker Grace Millane carried out a final act of kindness before she was killed in New Zealand.

The 22-year-old cut her long hair and sent her locks to the Little Princess Trust so it could be turned into wigs for children with cancer.

She then left the UK to go on a "trip of a lifetime" but it tragically ended in her murder earlier this month.

Her older brother Michael told The Sunday Times: "She had really long hair before she left. But she cut it all off and donated it to the Little Princess Trust."

Grace's family also revealed they have endured "two weeks of hell" since her disappearance and death in Auckland.

They paid tribute to the "beautiful" backpacker and revealed how she had a passion for travelling and was recently planning a return trip to the Far East.

Grace's body was found by police on the outskirts of Auckland after she went missing on December 1, the day before her 22nd birthday.

 

Grace Millane donated locks of her hair to kids battling cancer. Picture: Supplied
Grace Millane donated locks of her hair to kids battling cancer. Picture: Supplied

 

However, her family have now told said they hope the death "will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world".

And as dad David returned back home to the UK with his daughter's body, the rest of Grace's family paid tribute to the "beautiful daughter and sister".

Brothers, Michael, 29, and Declan, 26, and mother, Gillian, said she had "a passion to see the world" and had more travel plans up her sleeve.

"We all fly the nest," said Michael. Her death "should not deter any man or woman" from following their dreams, he added.

After Grace's body was discovered a 26-year-old man - who cannot be named for legal reasons- was charged with her murder.

This weekend it emerged that Grace's mother, Gillian, 57, had been unable to travel abroad with her husband because she was undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Michael said his father, who owns a construction company, had endured "two weeks of hell"since the tragedy.

Police search the area around where Grace Millane's body was found on December 10. Picture: Getty
Police search the area around where Grace Millane's body was found on December 10. Picture: Getty

 

Killed UK backpacker Grace Millane. Picture: Supplied
Killed UK backpacker Grace Millane. Picture: Supplied

 

Grace graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Lincoln in September and went travelling on October 26.

The outgoing former student spent six weeks in South America as part of a gap year.

The 22-year-old from Billericay, Essex, arrived in New Zealand alone on November 19 and was last seen on Saturday, December 1.

Grace travelled to the North Island city in late November but alarms bells rang when she failed to respond to birthday well-wishes on her 22nd birthday on December 2.

Grace had been staying at the £10-a-night ($A17.53) Base Backpackers on Queen Street, a popular location for travellers in the centre of the city.

Her family was left baffled after they lost contact with Grace, describing her silence as "completely out of character".

 

Police search the area where Grace Millane's body was found on December 10. Picture: Getty
Police search the area where Grace Millane's body was found on December 10. Picture: Getty

 

Grace Millane’s father David Millane reads a statement in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Getty
Grace Millane’s father David Millane reads a statement in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Getty

 

Plans for another long-distance trip had already taken root, with Asia and the Far East in her sights.

"She had decided, 'Once I've done this bit, I want to go to the other side'," said Michael, who works with his younger brother for the family firm.

"She had a passion to see the world before she settled into a job. Her mind was set that she wanted to do this thing."

The latest development comes after thousands expressed sorrow, anger and shame at vigils across New Zealand mourning the death of British tourist Grace Millane.

Crowds gathered in half a dozen cities last week at candlelit events.

Tributes are pictured outside the CityLife Hotel on Queen Street in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Getty
Tributes are pictured outside the CityLife Hotel on Queen Street in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Getty

In the capital, Wellington, hundreds packed the town centre for an outpouring of emotion, reflecting on a failure to protect a visitor in a country that prides itself on hospitality.

"There is a real sense of shame. We should have kept her safe," attendee Mandy Evett told AAP.

"She was our guest, she was young. You send your kid off somewhere on an adventure and you think they're going to be safe ... We need to change our culture, our attitude towards women." It reflected sentiment among speakers at events across the country, who drew attention to New Zealand's reported domestic violence rates, the highest in the developed world.

The article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.