Body found in search for missing British backpacker Grace Millane

Wellington: New Zealand police have found a body they believe is of missing British backpacker Grace Millane.

Police made the discovery about 10 metres from the edge of a scenic drive in Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday afternoon.

The red 2016 Toyota Corolla hatchback hired from a central Auckland rental car company.Credit:Stuff

Police have released two photographs of a 2016 red Toyota Corolla hatchback was hired from a central Auckland rental car company just before lunchtime on Sunday.

A group of 18 staff, including forensic experts, search the bush area for most of Sunday.

Grace Millane was described as a “fun loving, outgoing and [a] family-orientated person”. Credit:Facebook

"I can now advise that a short time ago we located a body which we believe to be Grace," Beard said.

"The formal identification process will now take place, however, from the evidence we have gathered over the last few days we expect that this is Grace.

"Obviously this brings the search for Grace to an end. This is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them.

"The focus now is to piece together exactly what happened to a young woman who came to New Zealand on her OE [overseas experience]."

Police have CCTV footage of some of Grace Millane’s movements on Saturday.Credit:NZ Police/AP

He added Millane's dad, who arrived in New Zealand from London on Friday to help with the search, had been joined by another family member.

"Any father in this situation is going to struggle," he said.

"We are putting a lot of support around him. I feel for him, I have a daughter in her twenties.

"It's difficult because he is here with a brother from England, and the rest of the family are back home. Our hearts go out to them."

Millane, 22, from Essex in the United Kingdom, was last seen in central Auckland on December 1 and was reported missing on Wednesday.

At a press conference on Saturday, Beard said police had gathered evidence, from CCTV footage and searches at the CityLife Hotel on Queen St where she was last seen, that determined "Grace is no longer alive".

At the time, Beard said while officers did not know where she was, they were "determined to find her and return her to her family".

Back home in Essex, church services were to be held to remember Millane.

Father John Corbyn, of Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Wickford, where the Millane family lives said she was well known in the community.

"Many of our young people went to school with her. She went to Catholic school, and so did they, so they know her.

"We were praying for her while she was missing, and then of course … the sad realisation that she wasn't missing any longer, as it were."

He said the mood at the church was "rather sombre and sad", adding: "I didn't know her personally but many of the people here do. They're shocked and saddened by what's happened."

In Auckland, police continued to search the CityLife apartment where Millane was last seen at 9.41pm on December 1, and were sifting through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.

Beard said he had no evidence to suggest Millane knew the man in custody before Saturday night but detectives knew they were together from the time she was captured on footage at SkyCity to the time she was seen at the CityLife Hotel.

Detectives were also still searching for some of Millane's belongings, including her passport, a pale pink Casio Baby-G watch and a silver necklace with a green stone in the middle, which were missing from the Base Backpacker hostel where she was staying.

"That property is going to be somewhere, the clothing is going to be somewhere, we haven't found it. Somebody may find it somewhere, we don't know what has happened to it," Beard said on Saturday.

Millane was on a year-long trip after graduating from the University of Lincoln in September.

The advertising graduate and keen artist arrived in New Zealand on November 20, after travelling through South America.

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