13 Nov 2019

Grace Millane case: Accused talked of manslaughter case with next Tinder date

5:44 pm on 13 November 2019

The man accused of murdering Grace Millane told a Tinder date he knew of someone who'd been done for manslaughter after rough sex went wrong, a court has heard.

Grace Millane

Grace Millane Photo: Supplied

The evidence comes from a woman who met the accused for a drink in Ponsonby as Ms Millane's body lay in his apartment.

This afternoon the woman, who has name suppression, told the court she matched and chatted with the man on Tinder several weeks prior to meeting him on Sunday 2 December.

She said he was sitting at an outside table with a beer when she arrived and she hugged him before getting herself a drink and sitting down with him.

The woman told the court he did most of the talking, starting by asking her how she'd met her friends in Auckland and telling her all of his friends were police officers.

"I thought it was strange that all his friends were police officers. I thought it was a bit odd."

She said the man told her he had been a sales manager at Woolworths in Australia and just got a job at Fonterra, starting in a few weeks' time.

The woman told the court she was surprised to hear of his jobs and moved the conversation on to what he had been doing that day.

"He said he'd been trying to find a really large duffle bag but he'd been struggling to find one big enough for sports gear."

The jury have watched CCTV footage of the man buying a suitcase he later wheeled out of his CityLife apartment with Ms Millane's body in it.

"He mentioned at one point that his best friend was coming here to be a Crown prosecutor and he was taking a big pay cut because he was coming from Sydney."

The woman said she told the man she'd attended a murder trial where a young man had been put away for murder; telling him it was sad to see him jailed and also sad to see the victim's family in court.

"He said it's crazy how guys can make one wrong move and go to jail for the rest of their life," the witness said.

"He said he'd heard of, or knew of, a guy who had asked his girlfriend to have rough sex with him involving strangulation or suffocation.

"It had gone wrong and she'd died during the process and he'd tried to revive her but she couldn't be revived and she died and he got done for manslaughter."

The woman said the man's demeanour was intense but calm as he talked to her.

"He seemed to have empathy for this man that he knew. He seemed a bit aloof and not quite judging how I was responding to the story.

"I think he was just kind of in his own world telling this story and quite intense about it."

The woman said she felt uncomfortable an changed the topic to travel in the South Island before he talked more about his friends being police officers.

"He said that they're [the police] having a really tough time right now, especially in the Waitakeres because a lot of bodies are going missing out there as it's a large area.

"Police dogs can only smell bodies buried more than four feet under..so the police were having a tough time because lots of bodies were going missing in the Waitakeres," she said.

The woman said he seemed concerned but self-assured when speaking to her about this.

"I personally thought it was an interesting fact. It's an unusual thing to say on a date but people say strange things on dates."

The court heard they were at the bar for one and a half hours before they parted ways.

The woman said the accused messaged her a few hours later saying he had a great time and asking if she'd like to meet again.

The trial before Justice Moore and a jury of seven women and five men is set down for a month.