Man accused of killing British backpacker in New Zealand pleads not guilty

A man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand pleaded not guilty on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old man, who was not identified due to a court order, appeared in court on Tuesday and entered a not guilty plea in the death of Millane, who vanished on Dec. 1 in Auckland after arriving in New Zealand in late November, the BBC reported. Her body was found more than a week later.

The suspect is scheduled to appear in court again on April 3 and his trial is expected to begin on Nov. 4.

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The 22-year-old, from Essex, England, was staying at a Base Backpackers hostel during her time in Auckland and last seen with a “male companion.” It’s unclear how Millane and the man allegedly met prior to her death.

Millane’s father, David Millane, flew from the U.K. to New Zealand to look for the recent college grad.

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“Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks, but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi,” David Millane said in a statement last month, the Telegraph reported. “We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world.”

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern issued a public apology to the Millane family last month.

“Your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn't and I'm sorry for that,” she said.