Who is Grace Millane’s killer Jesse Kempson? – The Sun

JESSE Kempson is serving life in prison after being convicted of murdering Brit backpacker Grace Millane.

The killer, who has been named for the first time today (December 22, 2020), is serving a minimum of 17 years behind bars. Here's what we know about Grace's "barbaric" killer.

Who is Grace Millane's murderer Jesse Kempson

Jesse Kempson, a 28-year-old New Zealander, strangled Grace to death during sex after they met on a Tinder date on December 1, 2018.

The 21-year-old's body was later discovered buried in a suitcase, and he was later convicted of her murder.

A jury unanimously found Kempson guilty on November 22, 2019 following a two-week trial.

Grace was six weeks into a backpacking "trip of a lifetime" after recently graduating from the University of Lincoln when she was brutally murdered.

She was killed in the CityLife hotel, where Kempson had been living.

A family friend said the monster dated a number of British backpackers and enjoyed “the admiration of young females”.

It has also been revealed for the first time that he raped another British tourist eight months before he murdered Ms Millane and has also been convicted of a series of offences against a former partner.

Just as he did later with Ms Millane, Kempson took the rape victim out on a Tinder date before bringing her back to his Auckland motel room.


The trial at Auckland High Court heard he was a fantasist who would tell potential sexual partners that he had celebrity connections, had been orphaned and even had cancer.

He also lied to police during his first interview, claiming he and Grace had parted ways after drinking together for two hours.

But incriminating phone data showed he had used Google to browse websites for large duffel bags, suitcases and car hire to dispose of Grace's body after she died.

He also searched online for information on "flesh-eating birds", asking "are there vultures in New Zealand?", as well as "the hottest fire", "large bags near me" and "Waitakere Ranges".

Police found her body in a shallow grave, in bushland just a few metres from a scenic drive in the Waitakere Ranges, in West Auckland.

Why is Jesse Kempson being named now?

Jesse Kempson's name was protected due to a suppression order issued by Kiwi courts, which could have remained in place till 2021.

Even the reasons for his name being withheld were withheld.

But it was revealed  Kempson faced two other trials for violent sexual offending against two women after the Millane trial.

He was found guilty of all nine total charges at both judge-alone trials, which he is now appealing.

Kempson has also signalled an application to the Supreme Court for a second appeal of his murder conviction.

His name had been suppressed by the courts throughout the case to protect his fair trial rixghts.

In the UK, however, defendants are only granted anonymity in a number of instances by courts, including where they are under 18.

The order was initially brought in after media outlets in the UK were criticised in New Zealand, days after he was arrested in December 2018.

Google also breached the order when it named the man in its "what's trending in New Zealand" mass email.

Kiwi law gives suspects and alleged victims the right to ask a court to have their name suppressed, making it illegal for it to be made public in the country.

The aim is to protect defendants who are presumed innocent until proven guilty and the privacy of alleged victims, and to ensure a fairer trial.

New Zealand law says that the court has to be satisfied that publication of the person's identity would cause hardship to the person charged, create a risk of prejudice to trial, or endanger the safety of any person – including anyone connected with the defendant.

Name suppression is also granted in cases where publication could lead to the identification of someone else whose name is suppressed.

NZ Justice Minister Andrew Little is pressing for Commonwealth countries to make court suppression enforced beyond New Zealand's borders.

He told the Herald that Commonwealth countries have been working on this, but "it'll take a couple of years" to make them international.

What sentence was he given for killing Grace?

At the Auckland High Court on February 21, 2020, Justice Simon Moore handed Grace's murderer a life imprisonment with a minimum of 17 years behind bars.

During the man's trial, crown solicitor Brian Dickey told the jury that he had strangled her for five to ten minutes during or after sex, and then "eroticised" her death by taking intimate photos of her body.

"At some point… she lost consciousness and would have become limp and lifeless, and he would have carried on. That is reckless intent."

On August 6 Grace's killer appealed against his life sentence, claiming that taking pictures of her dead body and watching porn after murdering the backpacker didn't make him a monster.

His new lawyer is arguing he didn’t get a fair trial and his sentence was too harsh.

Rachael Reed said: “Consent shouldn’t be removed just because someone has died."

But, Justice Kos said her argument's implication was “grave”.

Reed was basically suggesting that someone who chose not to give evidence at trial, as Grace’s killer did, could then advance consent as a justification for death, Justice Kos added.

“I for one resist your proposition.”

Reed also questioned the expert evidence of forensic pathologist Dr Simon Stables and Dr Fintan Garavan about the strangulation and cause of death.

But Reed was told by Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey that 90 seconds was a long time to press on someone’s neck.

“She must have been resisting… and struggling for her life,” Dickey argued.

“You don't just tap someone's neck and they die.”

Reed said she wouldn't try to excuse the fact that the killer took intimate photos of Grace's body after her death.

“I cannot [excuse his actions] as they are inexcusable” and  “abhorrent”, she said.

Reed claimed bruising on Grace's body was not "significant".

She also criticised High Court Justice Simon Moore for placing too much weight on the killer's degree of callousness during the trial, Stuff reported.

Her client's actions after Grace’s death did not mean he was callous at the time of her death, Reed added.

Dickey challenged her comment, saying that consent wasn't a defence for murder.

He asked: “What actual evidence was there to sustain the proposition this was an accidental death in a consensual sexual encounter?

“Nowhere in [one of the defendant's police interviews] does he link what he did to her death.

“We have the most flimsy basis of consent.”

The Justices have reserved their decision.

Grace's grief-stricken mum, Gillian, told her killer that she is tormented over "the terror and pain she must have experienced at your hands".

Gillian also told the murderer that her daughter died "terrified and alone in a room with you".

Speaking via video-link at Auckland High Court, she added: "As a mother, I would have done anything to change places with her.

"I sit full of guilt knowing I couldn't help her, that I should have been there.

"Your barbaric actions towards my Grace is beyond comprehension."

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