Lesley Elliott 'devastated' for Millane family

Lesley Elliott. Photo: ODT files
Lesley Elliott. Photo: ODT files

The mother of a young woman killed at their Dunedin home has joined the outcry of voices aghast at the needless killing of a British backpacker.

Kiwis and travellers alike have taken to social media saddened and now angry that 22-year-old Grace Millane’s life was suddenly taken while on a night out in Auckland.

Millane was last seen on December 1 in central Auckland on CCTV footage. Her body was found in bush in Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland yesterday a week after her 22nd birthday.

A 26-year-old Auckland man is to appear in court today charged with murder.

The news of Millane’s death brings back horrific memories for Elliott, whose daughter was stabbed by her then on-off boyfriend Clayton Weatherston 10 years ago.

She agreed with comments on social media, saying “Why shouldn’t they (young women) be able to be free to do what they want? It just doesn’t seem fair.”

Elliott said it was the same argument around what women wore when they went out - they should be able to wear what they want without men thinking they were being provocative.

She felt for Millane’s father, David, who has travelled to New Zealand, and her mother and brother who remain in the United Kingdom.

“I just feel absolutely devastated for the family because I know how they are feeling. She came over here a beautiful, bright, bubbly young lady who’s come to travel the world and this is what happens.”

Elliott said it would be some cold comfort for the family to be able to have Grace's body back.

“I think the worst thing must be if you don’t.”

Elliott, a nurse, was home when her daughter was brutally murdered by Weatherston; she was downstairs when she heard her scream.

“While this might sound a bit ghoulish and horrible, I’m glad I was here for Sophie.”

Elliott was today preparing to pack and move out of the family home to a smaller property with her oldest son, Nick.

Meanwhile, women on social media continue to express their anger and frustration at Millane’s death saying they should be safe when enjoying a night out.

One woman, a visitor to New Zealand, said: “Many of us travelled alone and my first night i spent in NZ, was actually spent in Auckland in the base hostel, I also went out that night with people I didn’t know... because it’s natural when you’re travelling to do all of these things. It’s how you meet people and how you make friends.”

Another wrote how “our country feels such disgrace about what happened to you, and most of us do feel responsible as a Whole country, for not dealing with the violence in our country that has now resulted in a beautiful innocent womans death”.

Police investigating Millane’s death are calling for anyone who may have seen a 2016 red Toyota Corolla hatchback that was hired from a central Auckland rental car company just before lunchtime on Sunday, December 2.

Police want sightings of the car in the West Auckland area between 6am and 9.30am on Monday, December 3.