Missing British backpacker Grace Millane, 22, is believed to have been found dead in bushland in New Zealand.

DI Scott Beard said formal identification was yet to take place, although ‘based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace’.

Grace was last seen in Auckland on December 1, where she was seen at a hotel with a ‘male companion’.

A 26-year-old man, believed to be her Tinder date, has been charged with murder.

Missing British backpacker METRO GRAB taken from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1313507355337543&set=ecnf.100000348729281&type=3&theater Credit: Facebook
Grace was last seen on December 1 (Picture: Facebook)
Police investigating the murder of British tourist Grace Millane stand by a cordoned off crime scene along a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges outside Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. New Zealand police said Saturday, Dec. 8, that they believe the 22-year-old British tourist who has been missing for a week was murdered, and they will lay charges against a man they detained earlier in the day for questioning. (Doug Sherring/New Zealand Herald via AP)
A cordoned off crime scene along a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges outside Auckland, New Zealand (Picture: AP)

DI Beard said: ‘The formal identification process will now take place, however based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace.

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

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Her body was found near a country road around 12 miles west of the city centre.

Two large blue and white tents had been erected and investigators wearing white overalls were seen nearby.

Her family have been left ‘devastated’ by the development, Auckland City Police Detective Inspector Scott Beard said.

Ms Millane, from Essex, was described as a ‘lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter’ by her father, David Millane.

Grace Milland Watch and Necklance Release
Caption: Grace Milland Watch and Necklance Release Provider: NZ Police
Grace Millane Watch and Necklance Release
Caption: Grace Millane Watch and Necklance Release Provider: NZ Police

She graduated from the University of Lincoln in September with a degree in advertising and marketing and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.

After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been near-daily contact with her family until December 1 – the day before her 22nd birthday.

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The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at 9.41pm the same day at the Citylife Hotel in central Auckland, when she was seen with a ‘male companion’.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout CCTV image issued by Auckland City Police of Briton Grace Millane, 22, at the Sky City centre in Auckland on Saturday evening. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 6, 2018. Ms Millane, who is reportedly from Essex, has been missing since she was last seen in the New Zealand city on Saturday night and police said they are growing increasingly concerned for her welfare. See PA story MISSING Auckland. Photo credit should read: Auckland City Police/PA Wire. NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Grace was last seen alive on Saturday December 1

Police have not uncovered any evidence the pair had met before.

METRO GRAB - taken from Twitter/EghamTownTeam no permissionChristmas fair arresthttps://twitter.com/EghamTownTeam/status/1071362082719916033Credit: EghamTownTeamMan, 47, arrested after ‘attempting to kidnap six-year-old girl from Christmas fair’

Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, DI Beard said: ‘I’m not going to speculate on how they met. The issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her.’

Detectives seized a ‘vehicle of interest’ on Saturday and inquiries were under way to establish where it had been.

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Earlier searches of Ms Millane’s accommodation at a backpackers’ hostel found several items, including her passport, were missing.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 07: A general view of City Life Hotel where missing British girl Grace Millane was last seen on December 07, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Police are investigating the disappearance of 22-year-old British woman Grace Millane after last been seen on Saturday December 1 in Auckland. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Grace was last seen with a ‘male companion’ at the CityLife Hotel in Auckland (Picture: Getty)

On Saturday police released images of a pink watch and a necklace belonging to her and asked for the public’s help in finding them.

The major police search and public campaign for information led to dozens of calls being made to a hotline.

‘I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace’s family tonight,’ DI Beard said.

‘I want to reassure everyone, both here and abroad, that New Zealand Police are determined to do everything we can to find her.’

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