TODAY |

Police warn public not to name man charged with Grace Millane's murder on social media, as investigation continues

Police have warned the public not to name the man charged with Grace Millane's murder, on social media, as the investigation into her death continues.

The warning was made in a statement released this afternoon that also re-iterates an appeal for sightings of a 2016 red Toyota Corolla hatchback in the vicinity of Waitakere's Scenic Drive on Monday December 3, between 6am and 9.30am.

Police say the vehicle was rented for a 24-hour period and was returned to central Auckland rental car company on Monday at lunchtime.

While the post-mortem examination on what is believed to be Grace Millane's body has been carried out, but police say they will not release the results.

A number of public vigils have been planned for Grace around NZ and police say: "The Millane family are very grateful for the kind thoughts and give their blessing to these vigils, but have respectfully declined to attend."

Case background:

Earlier today, a 26-year-old man appeared in the Auckland District Court charged with the 22-year-old's murder.

"Scumbag," a person in the public gallery yelled as he was led away from the courtroom at the conclusion of the hearing.

Your playlist will load after this ad

"I cannot image the grief of her family," Ms Ardern said. Source: 1 NEWS

Judge Evangelos Thomas began the hearing by acknowledging the presence of Ms Millane's family in court.

"I don't know what we can say to you at this time - your grief must be desperate," he said. "All of us hope justice for Grace is fair and swift, and ultimately brings you some peace."

David Millane - the father of British backpacker Grace Millane, who was found dead in west Auckland - arrives outside the Auckland District Court on 10 December for the first appearance of her accused killer. Source: 1 NEWS

He added, however, that today's hearing is not about reaching a judgment.

"I ask everyone please be patient as we get through the business of the first court appearance," the judge told the courtroom audience - which included reporters from as far away as Australia and the UK - before considering the name suppression request by the man's lawyer.

After lengthy submissions on the matter, Judge Thomas initially refused the defendant's request for name suppression.

"You have not been able to satisfy me that you have even an arguable case for name suppression and I must refuse it," he said.
But the man's lawyer indicated plans to appeal the decision, meaning the name must stay suppressed for 20 working days while an appeal is filed.

The police - along with Ms Millane's family, through the police - opposed the decision to grant name suppression.

The 26-year-old has been in police custody since Saturday, one day before police found what they believe to be Ms Millane’s body in west Auckland bush, about 10 metres from the road.

Grace Millane
Grace Millane Source: Supplied