Grace Millane murder trial: British backpacker texted friend, 'I click with him so well', hours before Tinder date strangled her, court hears.

A British backpacker found dead in a suitcase had texted her friend to say “I click with him so well”, during a date with the man accused of her murder, a court has heard.

The 27-year-old defendant, whose name has been suppressed by a court in New Zealand, is alleged to have choked Grace Millane to death during rough sexual intercourse following their date.

Ameena Ashcroft, Ms Millane’s friend, received messages from the backpacker saying she “wanted to get smashed” with the man she met on Tinder, she told Auckland High Court in a letter.

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Ms Ashcroft “thought something was out of place” after receiving the texts, her letter said.

Ms Millane and the defendant were seen drinking together and kissing at bars in Auckland city centre on 1 December 2018, the day before her 22nd birthday, according to CCTV footage viewed by the jury.

Grace Millane trial: British backpacker 'murdered by Tinder date'

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Grace Millane trial: British backpacker 'murdered by Tinder date'

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David and Gillian Millane (second from right and right) arrive at Auckland High Court, in New Zealand, on Wednesday, 6 November, 2019, for the start of their daughter Grace Millane's murder trial. The body of the 22-year-old British backpacker was found in a forest area near Auckland on 9 December, 2018 - a week after she was last seen.

Michael Craig/NZ Herald via AP

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The parents of Grace Millane, David and Gillian Millane, arrive at Auckland High Court with Detective Inspector Scott Beard, 6 November, 2019.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Candles and flowers are laid next to a photo of Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square Park in Wellington on 12 December, 2018.

Marty Melville/AFP/Getty

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Defence lawyers Ian Brookie (left) and Ron Mansfield (right) arrive at Auckland High Court, 6 November, 2019.

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

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Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey arrives at Auckland High Court, 6 November, 2019.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Auckland High Court

Fiona Goodall/Getty

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People place candles and flowers next to a photo of Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square Park in Wellington on 12 December, 2018.

Marty Melville/AFP/Getty

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David Millane speaks at a press conference in Auckland, New Zealand, on 7 December, 2018, while his daughter Grace Millane is still missing.

Doug Sherring/NZ Herald via AP

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Lucie Blackman Trust/PA

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CCTV still image issued by Auckland City Police of one of the last sightings of Grace Millane.

Auckland City Police/PA

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Auckland City Police/PA

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David and Gillian Millane (second from right and right) arrive at Auckland High Court, in New Zealand, on Wednesday, 6 November, 2019, for the start of their daughter Grace Millane's murder trial. The body of the 22-year-old British backpacker was found in a forest area near Auckland on 9 December, 2018 - a week after she was last seen.

Michael Craig/NZ Herald via AP

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The parents of Grace Millane, David and Gillian Millane, arrive at Auckland High Court with Detective Inspector Scott Beard, 6 November, 2019.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Candles and flowers are laid next to a photo of Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square Park in Wellington on 12 December, 2018.

Marty Melville/AFP/Getty

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Defence lawyers Ian Brookie (left) and Ron Mansfield (right) arrive at Auckland High Court, 6 November, 2019.

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

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Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey arrives at Auckland High Court, 6 November, 2019.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Auckland High Court

Fiona Goodall/Getty

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People place candles and flowers next to a photo of Grace Millane during a vigil at Civic Square Park in Wellington on 12 December, 2018.

Marty Melville/AFP/Getty

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David Millane speaks at a press conference in Auckland, New Zealand, on 7 December, 2018, while his daughter Grace Millane is still missing.

Doug Sherring/NZ Herald via AP

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Lucie Blackman Trust/PA

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CCTV still image issued by Auckland City Police of one of the last sightings of Grace Millane.

Auckland City Police/PA

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Auckland City Police/PA

Other footage showed the young woman walking from a lift to the defendant’s hotel room at 9.41pm that night, which is the last time she is seen alive.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey told the court on Wednesday that the alleged killer had first told police he met Ms Millane “for a drink and then parted company”.

He later changed his story to say they had had sexual intercourse which involved biting and hitting, Mr McCoubrey said.

Ms Millane, from Wickford, Essex, was in New Zealand on a gap year at the time of her death.

Her body was found buried inside a suitcase in a forest area near Auckland on 9 December.

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The defence case is that Ms Millane “died as a result of what [the pair] consensually engaged in together” and that her death was accidental.

Samuel Luker, a detective, described intimate photographs of a woman’s body found on the defendant’s phone to the court, which prosecutors said were taken after Ms Millane’s death.

At this point Gillian Millane, the mother of the deceased woman, left the court in tears.

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The detective also said the defendant searched for pornography and “rigor mortis” on his phone.

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Mr McCoubrey said the defendant conducted additional online searches for the terms “the hottest fire”, “large bags near me” and ”Waitakere Ranges”, the location where Ms Millane’s body was found, in the hours after her death.

The crown also alleges that the defendant went on another date on 2 December.

Records showed he searched “flesh-eating birds” and “are there vultures in New Zealand?” on 5 December.

The trial is expected to last for five weeks.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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