Grace Millane is one of many tourists killed in New Zealand


The alleged murder of British backpacker Grace Millane has sent shockwaves through New Zealand and the world.

The country is considered one of the safest places on earth — in September, police released statistics showing the national homicide rate at a 40 year low — and the 22-year-old’s violent death has rattled locals.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern held back tears as she apologised to the young woman’s family at a recent press conference.

“From the Kiwis I have spoken to there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality … especially to those who are visiting our shores,” she said.

“On behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace’s family. Your daughter should have been safe here and she wasn’t and I’m sorry for that.”

Ms Millane’s body was found by police on the outskirts of Auckland on Sunday after she went missing in the city on December 1, the day before her 22nd birthday.

A 26-year-old man appeared in Auckland District Court this morning charged with her murder but there are legal issues temporarily preventing his identification.

Violence against tourists in New Zealand is rare and murder even more so.

The last time it happened was in 2012, when Czech backpacker Dagmar Pytlickova, 31, was kidnapped while hitchhiking.

Convicted sex offender Jason Frandi took her to a remote forest in North Otago where he killed her before taking his own life at the scene.

In 2008, Scottish woman Karen Elizabeth Aim was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat in a Taupō street.

The 27-year-old was found lying in a pool of blood just 50 metres from the home she was staying at and later died in hospital from head injuries.

Ms Aim had found work as a supervisor at a Taupō glass-blowing studio during what was meant to be a year long working holiday.

Her killer, 14-year-old Jahche Broughton, was sentenced to life in prison at the age of just 15.

In 2005, Birgit Brauer’s trip of a lifetime was cut short after she was found dead in picturesque Lucy’s Gully, southwest of New Plymouth.

The 28-year-old German national’s murder remained unsolved for four years until the arrest of Michael Scott Wallace.

Wallace, 46, had been high on ice when he picked up Ms Brauer as she hitchhiked between Whanganui and New Plymouth.

Police said drove her to Lucy’s Gully with the intention of raping her. He used a metal bar to beat her around the head before dragging her into the bushes and stabbing her through the heart.

In 2009 he was jailed for a minimum of 18 years.

In 2003, South Korean student Hyeon Kim, 25, was murdered when hitchhiking and buried in a shallow grave near Charleston, south of Westport.

In 2010, two men were convicted of Mr Kim’s murder, which the sentencing judge declared a racially motivated killing.

Self described Neo Nazis Hayden McKenzie and Brent Flewellen were jailed for a minimum of 16 years to life.

In 1998, the partially decomposed body of Japanese tourist Kayo Matsuzawa was found in a locked cupboard near the stairwell of a shopping centre in inner city Auckland.

The 29-year-old from Yamagata Prefecture had spent the previous 11 months on a working holiday in Christchurch. She decided to make one last trip to Auckland before flying home.

She was murdered on September 11 — her first night in the city — and police made the grisly discovery of her body in the cupboard 10 days later. Her killer has never been caught.

In 1992, English tourist Margery Hopegood, 32, was stabbed to death in a Hamilton public toilet block on the banks of the Waikato River.

The murder sent shockwaves through New Zealand and headlines around the world after her remarkable and tragic back story was revealed.

Born in New Zealand and adopted at birth, Ms Hopegood had been trying to track down her biological family and history when she was brutally killed.

Wayne Glenn Tokotahi Paekau, 29, is serving a life sentence for her murder.

In April 1989, Swedish Heidi Paakkonen and her fiance Sven Hoglin vanished while tramping in the Coromandel Peninsula, sparking the largest land-based search ever undertaken in New Zealand.

Mr Hoglin’s body was found two years later but Ms Paakkonen’s remains were never located.

David Wayne Tamihere, 37, is serving a life sentence for their murders.

In 1989 British backpacker Monica Cantwell, 24, was raped and killed on a bush walk near Mt Maunganui near Mauao.

Her body was found 50 metres from the track. A man called Charles John Coulam later admitted to having dragged her into the bushes and killed her. He was jailed for life.

On New Year’s Eve 1969, Welsh-born Tasmanian Jennifer Beard disappeared while hitchhiking down New Zealand’s West Coast.

The 25-year-old teacher was on her way to meet her fiance but never made it. Her body was found under the Haast River Bridge 19 days later.

Police searched for a middle-aged man in a “greeny-blue Vauxhall” — the description of the person Ms Beard had last been seen with — but nobody was ever charged with her murder.

A person of interest identified as Gordon Bray remained in the spotlight as prime suspect for years but maintained his innocence until his death in 2003.

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