(By Deanna Paul, Washington Post)

Only two people know what happened in the room: Grace Millane, a 22-year-old British backpacker who went missing in December, and the man on trial in her death…

“One of them can’t tell us, and the other hasn’t told the truth about what happened,” prosecutor Robin McCoubrey told a New Zealand jury in his opening statement Wednesday.

Millane met the 27-year-old, whose name has been kept secret to preserve his right to a fair trial, on Tinder, authorities say. Both swiped right and met at a pub in Auckland. After an evening of bar-hopping and kissing, they retired to his apartment. A week later, on Dec. 8, her corpse was discovered inside a suitcase, buried in the Waitakere Ranges, a rainforest on the city’s outskirts.

Wednesday was the first time the prosecution shared its theory of the case and details of the young woman’s death: Millane was strangled.

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A police officer investigating the murder of British tourist Grace Millane stands at a 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)

“How to dispose of a body”

The prosecutor said the defendant googled how to dispose of a body and spent time on pornography websites before taking intimate photographs of Millane, BBC News reported. Then, McCoubrey said, he searched for “large bags near me” and “rigor mortis” and continued to surf pornography sites.

According to BBC News, the prosecution said the man confirmed another Tinder date the following morning, which he went on later that day while Millane’s body lay in his apartment.

In closed-circuit video footage, Millane, in a black dress and her hair down, is seen in the city centre kissing the accused, who has pleaded not guilty to murder. His attorney, Ian Brookie, told the jury that her death was a tragic accident that occurred during an “ordinary casual sexual encounter between a young couple.”

Parents of murdered British backpacker Grace Millane, her father David, second from right, and mother Gillian, right, arrive at the Auckland High Court, in Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 for the murder trial of a man accused of killing their daughter Grace. Prosecutors say Grace Millane met her killer on the dating app Tinder, and they appeared to be enjoying themselves as they visited several bars before going back to his downtown Auckland apartment. The 27-year-old man accused of killing Millane has pleaded not guilty. His name is being kept secret for now by court order. (Michael Craig/NZ Herald via AP)

“She was just lying on the floor”

Although the man initially told police that he and Millane went separate ways after their date, he backpedalled, BBC News reported. According to the second version of events, he admitted that the pair engaged in “rough sex.” When he awoke, he said, he “saw that she was lying on the floor.”

Millane’s disappearance garnered national attention last year, and the courtroom was packed Wednesday for the highly anticipated trial, which is expected to last a month.

The question for the jury is whether Millane’s death was a case of consensual sex gone awry or whether a killer lured a young woman to his apartment and killed her.

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Author: ANA Newswire