Asia-Pacific

Man accused of killing British backpacker Grace Millane to face NZ court

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The 27-year-old man charged with murdering British backpacker Grace Millane has pleaded not guilty in a New Zealand court.

The man accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand has pleaded not guilty and will stand trial.

The 27-year-old, who cannot be named, denied the charge when he made his first appearance in the High Court at Auckland on Wednesday.

His trial has now been scheduled to begin on November 4 and is expected to last at least three weeks.

Grace Millane's accused killer will face court.
Grace Millane's accused killer will face court.
AAP

Other than making his plea, the accused remained silent during the brief hearing and was remanded in custody.

He will next return to court in April.

Ms Millane's body was found in bush on the outskirts of Auckland a week after she went missing in the city's centre on December 1, the day before her 22nd birthday.

Police have said she was last seen arriving at the Citylife Hotel with the accused, who was arrested last month.

He made an appearance in a lower court in December and while he was earlier identified by international media, his legal appeal to keep his name secret in New Zealand is ongoing and will be argued in court next month.

People lay flowers and light candles during a candlelight vigil for British tourist Grace Millane.
People lay flowers and light candles during a candlelight vigil for British tourist Grace Millane.
AP

That appeal means he may yet be publicly identified in New Zealand.

Ms Millane, from Essex, was on the second leg of a year-long world tour after graduating from the University of Lincoln. After visiting Peru, she arrived alone in New Zealand in November.

A large-scale search was launched after she uncharacteristically failed to reply to birthday messages from family.

A funeral service was held in her hometown, Brentwood, last week.

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