He had cancer.
He was a hot-shot manager earning $150,000 a year.
He had a law degree.
His cousin was an All Black.
His parents were dead. He was adopted by rich people.
His mates were mostly cops.
He had gang connections.
Grace Millane's murderer told so many untruths, to so many people, he must have struggled to keep track of them all.
Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey noted that the man had calmly and callously disposed of Millane's body and other evidence, then set about creating a "labyrinth of storytelling and lies" to cover his tracks.
He is a man whose intimate personal life has been exposed.
But he is a man who no one really seems to know much about - due to his incessant lying.
A source said even his own family have largely disowned him, appalled by his constant dishonesty and thievery.
Today we look into his life and try to separate the facts from the web of lies he has spun to all those who crossed his path.
Grace Millane and her murderer were captured on CCTV cameras during their Tinder date.
It's hard to know what to believe when it comes to the man who murdered backpacker Grace Millane.
He's admitting lying to police during their investigation into the death of the 21-year-old, and it seems his entire life has been punctuated by telling porkies of varying degrees.
Depending on the day, the person, the year, you might get a sob story about dead parents, adoption by rich businesspeople, a highly paid career, a law degree, celebrity friends, an All Black relative, a child living offshore, various relatives with various cancer, fatal car crashes, that he himself was dying of a terminal condition.
But who is the man behind the facade of untruths?
The Herald sought out people who have known him for years, and more recently, in a bid to unpick his fibs and work out exactly who this man really is.
Some of the facts cannot be disputed, they are recorded in legal documents - birth certificates, tenancy agreements and the like.
But many are cloaked in doubt.
What we do not know about this murderer is vast - almost as vast as the labyrinth of lies he built around his life over the years.
Let's begin with what is true, factual, right.
A murderer is born
Millane's murderer was born in the Wellington region in 1992 and grew up in and around Wainuiomata and Porirua.
His parents' relationship did not last and they separated when he was about nine.
His mother relocated overseas and it's understood he has had no to little contact with her since.
He has told a number of people over the years that the woman is dead but there is no proof of that.
Initially his father and grandfather worked together to raise the youngster.
Eventually though his father met a new woman.
The CityLife building where Grace Millane died houses a hotel and privately owned apartments. Photo / NZME
She had her own children and the couple would move in together and blend their families into one.
The killer's father - who sat through most of his trial - did not want to speak to the Herald when contacted and did not respond to emails or Facebook messages.
This may be because he had been estranged from his son for many years.
The Herald has learned that the murderer-to-be worked as a bartender and builder/labourer while living with his father and stepmother, but moved to Australia in about 2013 to try his luck over there.
He left the family home after simmering tensions boiled over about his constant lying and allegations of stealing from various relatives.
The murder accused during the trial.
It is understood he was given an ultimatum - get help and be part of the family or get out.
The man is said to have made the choice to walk away.
His grandfather told Stuff that the man also borrowed money that was never paid back, most recently when he returned from Sydney in 2016.
It seems his troubles were well entrenched from a young age with concerns raised within the family about his mental health and proclivity for fabricating stories and thieving.
After his arrest his grandfather described the man as "a nice kid but he sort of fell out with everybody".
He told Stuff that his grandson was his best man when he remarried about a decade ago, but had since become "estranged" from most of the family.
The grandfather said the killer was "at a bit of a loose end"in recent years.
The murderer shed some light on his family life after Millane died.
He said - in spite of claiming to one Tinder date that he was adopted - he had a "mixed matched family" made up of full, half and step siblings.
He claimed he spoke to Millane about his family.
"I never see my mum's side, I see my father's side but I'd love to see my full brother," he told the young backpacker.
The lies continue
Millane's killer spoke to police about his return to New Zealand - another set of lies, they suspect.
He said he only came back to look after a sick grandparent in the upper North Island.
He admitted he was a heavy drinker - and blamed that on his father being a "drunk".
That drinking led to several arrests for disorderly behaviour while he was intoxicated in South Auckland and Sydney.
Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey said Grace Millane was strangled to death by the accused. Photo / Michael Craig
His New Zealand criminal history shows little - a conviction for drink driving is all that is listed.
When he was arrested rumours were rife that he was a deportee, booted out of Australia for offending there.
But that information is incorrect.
Something else that may be incorrect is the existence of a child.
His paternal grandmother revealed to Stuff that during his time in Sydney, he fathered a baby girl with a woman he was in a relationship with.
But others in his family and sources close to the Millane case have seen no evidence of the child.
A new leaf or the same old story?
It's unclear what the murderer did in Australia but when he returned and resettled in Auckland it appeared he was trying to turn over a new leaf - or at least give that impression.
He wrote on Facebook, in a post only visible to his friends and family but provided to the Herald, he wrote about his "bad decisions" in life.
post published on Facebook by the man charged with Grace Millane's murder about a month before he met her. Photo / supplied
"I'm not proud of some of which have greatly affected others," he wrote.
"I firstly want to extend the most sincere apologies for this.
"I've done a lot of reflection over time and have narrowed down the cause of it all and with that being said I believe you all deserve to know.
"My clear arrogance and selfishness has truly affected the relationship I have with people in my personal life."
He said the regrettable decisions were made when he was growing up "emotionally, mentally".
"When we grow up, we make mistakes. That's how we improve.
"In the exam of life you can't retest yourself with the same question paper. But with that being said we can change how we treat each other and over time I've learnt that every action has a reaction but I've also learnt how much compassion we all have as people."
In the post, published 13 days after he moved into the apartment where Millane would later die, the man claimed he had "recently" been diagnosed with anxiety and was taking medication to "keep this under control".
"Putting all that aside, I just want anyone who I've hurt/let down to know I'm truly sorry from the bottom of my heart."
He would later tell police that his parents break up had a significant impact on his mental health.
And, he revealed he was taking the anti-anxiety medication Escitalopram as a result of his parent's break up.
A whole "bunch" of lies
The lies the murderer told seem to have no bounds.
As Crown Prosecutor Brian Dickey said during his closing in at the Millane murder trial in the High Court at Auckland - "he was telling a whole bunch of lies".
Even his own lawyer Ian Brookie, in his closing, said his client was a liar.
But his concession related just to the fabrication of events around Millane's death and the gory and brutal aftermath.
"He lied and tried to cover it up," Brookie said.
"There is no disputing that.
The accused's lead defence lawyer Ian Brookie delivers his opening address to the jury. Photo / Michael Craig
"Human beings, infallible as we are, we get it wrong.
"It was not the right thing to do, you're not going to hear arguing from the defence on that."
Among the tall tales unearthed and exposed in court:
- his claim to a Tinder date in early November he had cancer and was dying
- he told another Tinder date he had gang connections.
- another Tinder lie was that he was the cousin of an All Black and had spent the last test match watching with players wives and girlfriends.
He also told police when he first spoke to them about Millane that he was living in Mt Eden,
even proffering an address.
A high-flying tenant or a full time 'pick up artist'?
Back to the facts.
It's been confirmed that the man moved into an apartment in the CityLife building at 171 Queen Street on October 16 2018.
The apartment number is suppressed but the owner spoke to the Herald about his scandalous tenant.
He owns a number of apartments in the building, and around the CBD in other locations, which also houses a hotel of the same name.
The man was not booked into the hotel, he was living in a 23 square metre apartment and that is where Millane took her last breath.
About half the rooms are privately owned and either occupied by those owners or rented out - usually to young, single professionals who work in the CBD.
The owner spent about an hour with the man before the lease - fixed term for a year - was signed.
"The story he told me was that he was a manager for Woolworths and he had just arrived from Australia," the owner said.
Inside the room where Grace Millane died last December. The man charged with her murder moved in just five weeks earlier. Photo / supplied
"He told me that his father was on the board of directors for Woolworths and he seemed to know a lot about supermarkets."
The man told the owner that he was being paid upward of $150,000 a year and had a company car.
He said he wanted modest accommodation, preferring to spend his supposed salary on dining out, socialising and lifestyle.
"The room was neat and tidy when he was there and he always seemed to have different clothes, he was well dressed," said the owner.
"He seemed to be very much into self improvement."
About the time of Millane's death the owner was going to confront the man.
After seeing him around the building at odd times of the day - when any executive would usually be working - and missed rent payments, he became suspicious.
The initial rent and bond was paid by WINZ and the man said that was due to a "delay" in his pay at his new role, which was remunerated monthly.
He used the same excuse when his subsequent rent was late, promising to pay the owner what was owed plus a month in advance as soon as his pay came in.
"It looked like he wasn't working," the owner said.
"At the stage I was going to confront him, this other thing happened."
He now believes his former tenant, who owes him thousands of dollars in rent, was "obsessed with picking up women".
"He appeared to have been a pick up artist," the owner told the Herald.
"It seems like that was his full time job, like it was all he did.
"I have no idea if he actually made any money or did any work - he seemed to lie all the time."
In court the man backed up the owner's claim that he spent much time on fitness.
"I go to the gym in CityLife … they have gym and pool," the man told police after his arrest.
"I love swimming, so it's just swimming."
He also spoke to police about his job - or lack of.
Grace Millane's parents David Millane and Gillian Millane arrive at Auckland High Court on Wednesday, accompanied by Detective Inspector Scott Beard. Photo / Michael Craig
Alongside the fabricated role at Woolworths, the man had told others he worked as a lawyer, for Fonterra, in various other high-falutin positions.
But the truth seems to be that he worked in sales.
That is, until December 1 2018.
The man told police his employment at a company "ended".
The company confirmed this, but cannot be identified for legal reasons.
A litany of Tinder date lies
The people the man seemed to lie the most to - if that can be narrowed down - is the women he
A handful of them, some utterly traumatised by their own experience with the man and shocked by his arrest in relation to Millane, spoke to the Herald in the wake of his arrest.
"He told me he was a business development manager," said one woman.
"I twigged quite quickly he was a liar but I was at quite a low point in my life at that time and felt I couldn't' do anything about it.
"When I saw he was the man charged for Grace Millane, I ran to the bathroom and had a panic attack."
He told a second woman that he was a corporate lawyer.
"Most of his conversation was about him, his mother dying of cancer and talking about his celebrity friends," she said.
"A red flag appeared in my mind when I rang a former radio host who told me she didn't know who he was."
When he met Millane the man's job was supposedly managing an oil company - a "fact" that was later discounted when he admitted to police his employment ended the day he took the 21-year-old on the fatal date.
A woman who matched with the killer on Tinder earlier in the year before Millane was killed, exchanged messages with him for several months said initially he was "very charming and very chatty".
The man claimed in a message to a woman he met on Tinder that he was a "hopeless romantic". Photo / supplied
But soon she saw through that facade and began to fear his "controlling" persona.
"He was telling me about his life and that his mum had passed away, he was telling me about his sisters - he seemed quite harmless," she said.
"But over time he started asking me quite personal questions like how many sexual partners I'd had and when was the last time I'd had sex.
"He demanded to know if I'd been having sex with anyone else while we had been talking.
"I told him that was quite personal and it got to a point that I had to block him on Facebook messenger."
The killer then started calling the woman repeatedly, sending her text messages telling her she was "rude" and "should be picking up your phone".
She never met the killer in person, put off by his intensity and obsession with her sex life.
The Herald has seen the messages the killer sent the woman, and her repeated requests for him to stop probing for such personal information.
In the messages he talks about bedding at least 50 women and being engaged to his last serious partner.
He also claims he wants to find someone who will move to Sydney with him and share his life.
He said he was a "hopeless romantic" and was ready to commit to the right person and leave casual sexual encounters - at parties and nightclubs - behind him.
"At the beginning I felt comfortable but it ended up being really intense, he asked me to send pictures of my legs, he said he found girls' feet attractive and he got really inappropriate," she said.
"He would send me Snapchat messages with photos of him on the toilet.
The man pushed the woman to answer questions about her sex life which made her uncomfortable. Photo / supplied
"He rang me three times a day, it was over a couple of months. There were a lot of red flags so I never met him for a date.
"I guess I was just trying to be nice messaging him but it got to a point when it was getting too much.
"I felt he was controlling."
Dishonesty and constant dating not ok with flatmates
Women he lived with also picked up on his dishonesty and proclivity for dating apps.
After the killer was arrested Radio New Zealand spoke to his former flatmate.
He moved into a house in Mount Eden with three young women, but soon after they asked him to leave.
"He got in touch and he said he was in Sydney and that he was moving to Auckland to look at buying a restaurant," the woman who held the lease told RNZ.
"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."
She said the women had "a few questions" about the killer's behaviour "after only a couple of days".
She said the killer was extremely active on dating apps and the women were not sure if he was actually working.
After two weeks of feeling uncomfortable with him, 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," said the lease holding flatmate.
"But he said that his mother had died and that he was going back to Sydney.
"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."
After the soon-to-be-killer moved out, the women changed the locks.
"The way that it happened, the way he left so abruptly, we actually got the locks changed the next day," she said.