Grace Millane was an English backpacker in New Zealand, when she was strangled to death in a hotel room, and her body was buried in a suitcase west of Auckland. She’d been out on a Tinder date with the 27 year old man accused of her murder.
Grace died on December 1st 2018, and the man accused of killing her is currently on trial. Instead of focussing on justice for Grace, one line seems to have stuck out in the reporting surrounding the trial – the defense says that Grace’s death was an accident during “violent sex.”
If you Google Grace Millane’s name, a lot of the headlines focus on her interest in BDSM.
There’s “Friends of Grace Millane give evidence about her BDSM interests”, and “Grace Millane ‘naive’ when messaging in online BDSM communities”, and “Grace Millane was member of BDSM dating sites and asked ex-partner to choke her during sex, court hears”, and “Grace Millane murder trial: Alcohol ‘a likely factor in backpacker’s death‘”.
Do you know how often people having consentual sex accidentally choke one of the partners to death? Almost never. Prosecutor Brian Dickey made the point that it’s “incredibly rare”, and has actually never happened before in New Zealand. He also pointed out, “you can’t consent to your own murder.”
Who cares what Grace was or wasn’t into? Her sex life shouldn’t be the big talking point in her case, the point is that she’s died violently at the hands of someone and was then buried in a suitcase.
Using this tidbit of information to effectively blame Grace Millane for her own death is exhausting to watch, and incredibly disappointing, but really – not that surprising.
The court has also heard that the man accused of killing her didn’t act like it was an accident after she’d died. He allegedly wasn’t panicking, but instead was “was cool, calm, in control” while he went and bought a suitcase, and even organised another Tinder date while her dead body was still in the hotel room with him.
But I haven’t seen any headlines about that.