The alleged killer of British backpacker Grace Millane almost smothered another Tinder date to death but she survived by playing dead, a court heard.

The terrified woman said she could not breathe and struggled with 'all her might' to get the defendant off her, before finally going limp with the hope he would realise something was wrong.

She recalled thinking 'this can't be the way I died' as the 27-year-old smothered her, a New Zealand court heard.

The defendant is currently on trial for murdering 22-year-old Grace, who he met through the dating application Tinder, although he claims she died by accident during rough sex.

Grace Millane in her graduation outfit
Grace Millane died in December

Three women who matched with the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on Tinder gave evidence in court today.

The woman who was allegedly smothered by the defendant said he put her on the bed in his Auckland apartment and then sat on her face.

According to the New Zealand news site Stuff, she said: "I couldn't breathe. He wasn't supporting any of his body weight. He put his pressure on my forearms, so I couldn't move.

CCTV footage of Grace in an elevator with the defendant
She was filmed on CCTV with the defendant

"I started kicking. I was kicking with all my might because I couldn't breath. I was terrified. When he still didn't get off, I lay completely still, went limp so he knew something was wrong.

"I started thinking about my family and friends, thinking they can't read about this. This can't be the way I died."

The witness broke down in tears as she told the court how the defendant asked 'you don't think I did that on purpose do you?' after she challenged him when he finally got off her.

She said the man contacted her the next day and was in disbelief that she did not stay at his overnight.

Over the next month he regularly tried to meet her again, but she had avoided contact and lied about her movements, hoping he would lose interest.

The apartment at the City Life hotel where Grace allegedly spent her final hours
The apartment at the City Life hotel where Grace allegedly spent her final hours

She was paranoid about how much she had told the defendant about her life and did not want to aggravate him by discussing the suffocation.

But on December 1, the day he met Grace, he was still trying to arrange another meeting.

“He was asking what I was up to and I said I was busy,” she told the jury.

“He wanted me to come for dinner. I said I can’t, I’m an hour out of Auckland, which is a lie.”

The last message from him that day was at 5.15pm, she said, just half an hour before he met Grace.

The pair were filmed holding hands while walking together on their date
The pair were filmed holding hands while walking together on their date

Another woman who spoke to the defendant over Tinder claimed he told her he liked choking women because it made him 'feel more superior'.

She reportedly said: "He liked feet, dominating and strangulation. He said he liked it because it made him feel more superior and in control."

The witness decided not to meet him after discovering his sexual preferences.

CCTV footage of Grace and the defendant hugging
The pair were seen hugging on CCTV

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The defendant's lawyer Ron Mansfield asked her for proof, however she said she had deleted all of the messages he sent her and upgraded her phone.

Another witness told the jury that the alleged killer strangled her so hard she was left gasping for air, although she insisted the sex act was consensual.

She said: "It was just sex in general, he choked me a bit because that's a preference of mine.

"It wasn't too hard but I was gasping for air - it was consensual."

The trial continues.