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

NEW Zealander Jesse Kempson brutally murdered recent graduate Grace Millane after a date.

Grace was last seen alive on CCTV with Kempson the day before her 22nd birthday.

Who is Grace Millane's murderer Jesse Kempson?

Jesse Kempson, now around 30 years old, strangled Grace to death during sex after they met on a Tinder date on December 1, 2018.

The 21-year-old's body was discovered buried in a suitcase, after she failed to reply to birthday messages and her parents became concerned.

Grace had been six weeks into her backpacking "trip of a lifetime" when she met Kempson.

He was  convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 17 years.

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

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

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Along with his crimes against Grace, he had raped another British tourist eight months before and was convicted of a series of offences against a former partner.

Just as he did later with Ms Millane, Kempson took his 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.

The final CCTV of Grace placed her at Kempson's hotel where he lived full time, with him, at 9:40 the evening she disappeared.

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 was Jesse Kempson not named at first?

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 at the time.

Later it was revealed Kempson faced two other trials for violent sexual offences against two women after his trial over the death of Ms Millane.

His name was hidden to avoid biasing the judge in the following cases, allowing him a fair trial.

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He was found guilty of all nine charges at both judge-alone trials.

As Kempson immediately launched an appeal, the ban was continued after the sentencing.

It was on December 22, 2020, that the identification ban was lifted as he lost his appeal against his murder conviction.

The New Zealand law clashed with that in the UK which only grants the defendant anonymity in a few instances.

Anonymity was granted after media outlets named him upon his arrest, including Google.

Google's mass email included Kempson's name in their "what's trending in New Zealand" section.

Differing from UK law, Kiwi law allows suspects and victims to ask for their name to be suppressed.

This means it is illegal for any outlet to publish their name in New Zealand.

This aims to give the defendants the right to a fair trial and uphold the idea of innocent until proven guilty.

Although this law is much more relaxed than that in the UK, there are still requirements for the request to be granted.

New Zealand law says that the court has to be satisfied that publication of the person's identity would cause hardship to the person, 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 identity is hidden – such as those under 18.

What sentence was Jesse Kempson 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 Kempson'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.

He said: "At some point… she lost consciousness and would have become limp and lifeless, and he would have carried on.

"That is reckless intent."

A few months after the sentencing, on August 6, 2020, Kemper launched an appeal against his life sentence.

He claimed that taking pictures of Grace's dead body and watching porn after brutally murdering her didn't make him a monster.

Rachael Reed, Kempson's new lawyer, argued he didn’t get a fair trial and his sentence was too harsh.

Reed 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.

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

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

Reed did not try to excuse the fact that the killer took intimate photos of Grace's body after her death, calling it "inexcusable and abhorrent".

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

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.

This had been a major point in the initial case, as the defence had argued Grace had consented to BDSM or rough sex which lead to her death.

Dickey 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.”

Speaking via video-link at Auckland High Court, Grace's mum Gillian said: "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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On December 18, 2020 Justice Stephen Kos, Justice Patricia Courtney and Justice Mark Cooper dismissed Kempson's appeal against his conviction and sentence.He launched another appeal which was dismissed by the Supreme Court on June 29, 2021, exhausting his routes to having his conviction overturned.

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