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Hundreds of mourners, including NZ Police, attend slain backpacker Grace Millane's UK funeral

Hundreds of mourners for Grace Millane, including the Auckland detective who led her search operation and later murder investigation, turned out to farewell the British backpacker at her funeral overnight in Essex.

The 22-year-old was last seen alive at an Auckland hotel. The 26-year-old man who police say she was with has been charged with murder and remains in custody.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard was among those gathered this morning outside the Requiem Mass at Brentwood Cathedral as the hearse bearing her coffin arrived. Six pallbearers, including her brothers Michael and Declan and her father, carried the coffin inside.

"This was a mark of respect to the family and as part of our commitment to ongoing support for them," a New Zealand Police spokesperson said of Mr Beard's attendance alongside the department's family liaison officer.

The pages of the order of service - which began with the hymn Amazing Grace - were decorated with some of the paintings that Ms Millane had created herself.

Speaking after the service, Father John Corbyn, who led the mass, told the BBC: "They are a very strong family.

The 22-year-old backpacker was found dead at the weekend – prompting shock and outrage. Source: 1 NEWS

"You can perceive a great deal of love and bonding and strength within that family, and they have many friends who will, I believe, help them."

She will be buried in the village of Ramsden Bellhouse.

Ms Millane had been travelling alone on a world tour, and had only been in New Zealand weeks before she was killed last month.

Her family in Wickford became concerned when the University of Lincoln graduate failed to respond to birthday messages on December 2.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Amid concerns her father, David Millane, flew to New Zealand on December 7 and made pleas to media for help in finding his daughter.

Her body was recovered in the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland on December 8.

Grace Millane
Grace Millane Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Millane's father flew her body back to the UK, but said in a statement "in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi".

He also said that, judging by the amount of photos and messages his daughter sent home, she clearly loved New Zealand.

Ms Millane's funeral follows vigils held throughout New Zealand in which people came together to mourn her death and other women killed in New Zealand.

The private funeral was held near her home in Essex. Source: 1 NEWS


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