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Grace Millane trial: Killer appeals murder conviction and sentence

The man who murdered British backpacker Grace Millane is appealing his conviction and sentence.

Grace Millane Photo: RNZ / YouTube

The 28-year-old killed Millane after a Tinder date in Auckland on the eve of her 22nd birthday in 2018.

The man, who has continued name suppression, strangled Millane in his CityLife apartment in Auckland's CBD in December 2018.

His name and identifying details have been secret since his arrest and this continues until further order of the court.

The 28-year-old was last month jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years in the High Court at Auckland.

Today, Rachael Reed QC confirmed to RNZ she is now acting for the man, who was formerly represented by Auckland lawyers Ian Brookie and Ron Mansfield.

"Sometimes trial lawyers consider that it may be helpful for another lawyer to review afresh the trial and sentence process when an appeal is being considered. That has been recommended to [my client] and has happened here, with our assistance. The appeals filed will be advanced by that lawyer for this reason," Brookie and Mansfield said in a statement.

Ms Reed said appeals against his conviction and sentence had been filed in the Court of Appeal and no hearing date had been set.

Millane matched her murderer on Tinder and organised to meet him at the base of the Sky Tower for a date that day, the eve of her 22nd birthday.

They bar hopped through Auckland's CBD before CCTV cameras filmed them entering the CityLife apartment complex at 9.40pm, the last time she was seen alive.

Her body was found contorted into a suitcase buried in a shallow grave in the Waitakere Ranges one week later.

The man pleaded not guilty to murder and stood trial in the High Court at Auckland for two-and-a-half weeks last November.

In the man's first police interview, he lied and told authorities he had parted ways with Millane earlier that night with plans to see each other for a second date.

He then backtracked in a second interview and admitted burying the young woman's body in the Waitakere Ranges.

The man told investigators he choked Millane during sex at her request before the pair took intimate photographs of each other.

Analysis of his phone found he watched pornography and took seven intimate photographs of her naked body, including pictures of her leg and foot.

At trial, the defence argued Millane accidentally died during consensual rough sex, saying the man's post mortem behaviour could be explained by him panicking in crisis.

The man told police he fell asleep in the shower after having sex with Millane, got into bed and then woke up the next morning to find Millane lying on the floor with blood coming from her nose.

However the jury rejected the defence's case and found the young woman did not consent to the activity that killed her.

It delivered a guilty verdict after five hours of deliberations that was met with tears and emotion from Ms Millane's parents David and Gillian who had sat through the trial.

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