Emotional New Zealand PM apologises over backpacker’s murder, Latest World News - The New Paper

Emotional New Zealand PM apologises over backpacker’s murder

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WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern choked back tears yesterday while offering a heartfelt apology to the family of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane, as the man accused of killing the young traveller made his first court appearance.

Her voice cracking with emotion, Ms Ardern said there was a collective feeling of shame in the South Pacific nation over the fate of Ms Millane, whose body was found on Sunday in parkland just outside Auckland.

"There is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality, on our manaakitanga," she said, using the Maori word for welcoming others.

"So 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 am sorry for that."

Ms Ardern told reporters at her weekly media conference that New Zealanders were heartbroken for Ms Millane's family and were feeling her death personally.

Ms Millane disappeared on Dec 1, on the eve of her 22nd birthday, and her family's worst fears were confirmed when her body was found.

The death has shocked New Zealand, which is usually regarded as a safe place to travel and averages fewer than 50 homicides a year in a population of 4.8 million.

A 26-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced Auckland District Court yesterday charged with her murder.

Wearing a blue prison-issue boiler suit, he was not required to enter a plea and will be remanded in custody until Jan 23. - AFP