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Grace Millane: Wickford vigil for murdered backpacker

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Around 200 people gathered outside the Fox and Hounds pub near Wickford

Hundreds of people have paid tribute to murdered backpacker Grace Millane at a vigil in her home town.

Her mother Gillian and brothers Declan and Michael were among the 200 people lighting candles outside the Fox and Hounds pub near Wickford, Essex.

One woman attending the vigil said the 22-year-old’s death had “ripped the community apart”.

Miss Millane’s body was found in New Zealand on Sunday. She disappeared from her Auckland hostel on 1 December.

Locals attending the vigil said they were “heartbroken” for the Millane family but praised them for handling the situation “with dignity”.

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Lucie Blackman Trust

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The 22-year-old arrived in New Zealand in mid-November

Shauna Cassidy, who went to school with Miss Millane, said she had always been “adventurous” and was “always smiling”.

“It’s really upsetting to think this can happen to someone you know,” she said.

“All Grace was trying to do was live her life.”

Tony Bennett, who is friends with Miss Millane’s parents, added: “They’re an amazing family, a very strong family. I’m sure they’re going to get through this.

“It’s lovely to see people come together and see how the New Zealanders have taken Grace into their hearts.”

A 26-year-old man has been charged with killing Miss Millane. He remains in police custody in New Zealand.

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Locals said the backpacker’s death had “ripped the community apart”

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