FAMILY and friends have been mourning the loss of former Thurrock man and businessman David Millane, the father of murdered backpacker Grace Millane.
Mr Millane died on Sunday after a battle with cancer, which he was diagnosed with after spending almost three weeks in New Zealand attending the trial for his daughter’s killer.
He is survived by his wife Gillian and sons Declan and Michael.
Grace, a graduate in marketing and advertising, was last seen alive in central Auckland on December 1, 2018. Her body was found eight days later in countryside outside the city.
A man who was 26 at the time, who strangled Grace to death in his hotel apartment, was convicted of the murder and was sentenced in February this year to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years. Under New Zealand law his identity had remained unknown. He has appealed his conviction and a decision on that is awaited. Until then he remains anonymous.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard who ran the investigation into her death, worked closely with the family. He kept them updated on the progress of the initial investigation and then helped to prepare them for the trial.
DI Beard has spoke about Mr Millane’s death, saying: “New Zealand Police wish to extend our deepest sympathy to family.
“The Millane family had their lives turned upside down when David’s much loved and cherished daughter Grace was murdered while visiting New Zealand.
“Police worked closely with the Millane family as part of the investigation into Grace’s murder and provided victim support throughout subsequent trial.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with Gillian, Michael and Declan and the family.”
The Millane family have many connections with Thurrock, where Mr Millane launched his construction business. Grace’s grandfather is a former Mayor of the borough.