Grace Millane murder suspect's female flatmates 'asked him to leave then changed locks'

Reports from New Zealand claim the 26-year-old – who can't be named for legal reasons – started to make his new flatmates feel uncomfortable.

One former flatmate told RadioNZ  how he moved in after she took out a lease on a four bedroom property with two young female friends.

He reportedly contacted them as he wanted to rent their fourth vacant room.

"He got in touch and he said he was in Sydney and that he was moving to Auckland to look at buying a restaurant," she revealed.

"So we actually only ever did a video interview with him, which sounds silly now, but at the time he seemed super nice. So yeah, he moved in with us."

However, within days the unnamed woman said his behaviour made them feel uncomfortbale and after just two weeks they asked him to leave.

"We finally built up the courage because it was a bit scary, just us three girls asking him to leave when we felt a little bit uncomfortable with him," she said.

"So he left that night, on the pretence that he was going to Sydney, and then when we came home from work the next day he'd cleared out all of his stuff.

"The way that it happened, the way he left so abruptly, we actually got the locks changed the next day," she added.

Grace, from Essex, was killed last week and the suspect has now appeared in court in Auckland charged with her murder.

Wearing blue police-issue overalls, he faced Auckland District Court and stood for nearly 90 minutes just yards from Grace's dad and uncle.

Not long before Grace, 22, from Essex, went missing, the suspect described her on a social media site as "beautiful very radiant", according to reports.

It comes after New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern today told Grace's family: "I'm sorry."

The killing has shocked residents of New Zealand, where serious crimes are relatively rare and camping in remote mountains and farmlands is widely regarded as safe for tourists and New Zealanders alike.

She said: "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.

"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 a Maori word for welcoming and generosity.

The suspect, who cannot be identified, is understood to have been living in the Citylife Hotel where tragic Grace was last seen alive.

He entered no plea and said nothing during his appearance, merely nodding as the Judge Evangelos

Thomas remanded him in custody until January 23 at the High Court.

Prison officers led him to the cells as a man in the gallery shouted “scumbag” and Grace's family and friends sat nearby.

After spending the weekend in police cells, he will now be transferred to the Mount Eden remand centre.

Judge Evangelos Thomas refused the man’s application for name suppression but was forced to order a delay in any publication for at least 20 working days pending the outcome of an appeal.

Judge Thomas began the hearing with a heartfelt message saying: “I would like to acknowledge the presence of Grace’s family.

"I do not know what to say to you,” said Judge Thomas. “Your grief must be desperate. All of us hope justice is fair and swift and ultimately brings your some peace.”

But he added: “That will not be happening today.”

Court records show that Grace's body lay dead for up to a week and police have said her cause of death won't be revealed after a post mortem has been completed.

The suspect, whose occupation is unknown, is alleged to have killed Grace between December 1 and 2.

He was seen entering CityLife Hotel with Grace last Saturday and has since been charged with her murder.

Police have not said how the pair met but his home address is listed as the same hotel she disappeared from.

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