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Grace Millane’s killer revealed after he loses appeal against murder conviction

Written by on 21 December 2020

The killer of a young British backpacker can finally be named after he lost an appeal against his murder conviction and sentence.

It can also be revealed that Jesse Kempson had raped another British tourist eight months before he murdered Grace Millane.

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

Furious at her refusal to have sex after he had bought her drinks, Kempson raped her while she lay on the bed crying and frozen with fear.

She kept the attack secret until she recognised Kempson, now 28, from media coverage the day he was charged with Grace’s murder in December 2018.

The rape victim, who cannot be named, went straight to the police.

In a statement read to the court at his sentencing, the victim said for a long time she had woken up “crying and screaming” with flashbacks and nightmares, terrified that Kempson would track her down.

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She said: “Every time I went to sleep, I’d see your eyes popping out of your head, staring at me in anger.”

Months after the rape, Kempson strangled Ms Millane to death the night before her 22nd birthday in December 2018.

They had been for a drink together in Auckland, New Zealand, after meeting on the Tinder dating app.

Legal restrictions in New Zealand meant Kempson could not be identified before today.

During his murder trial at Auckland Crown Court earlier this year, prosecutors said Kempson shoved Ms Millane’s body inside a suitcase before burying her in the Waitakere Ranges outside the city.

Grace’s parents David and Gillian Millane

She was assumed missing and her father, David Millane, flew to New Zealand during the week-long search for her body.

Outside the courtroom after the guilty verdict, Mr Millane made an emotional statement describing his daughter as “our sunshine” and said she would be “missed forever”.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 07: A poster for missing British girl Grace Millane is displayed outside the Base backpackers where Grace had been staying on December 07, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.
New Zealanders joined the search for the young woman

Ms Millane was born in Brentwood, Essex, the third child and only daughter of parents Gillian and David, who already had two young sons, Michael and Declan.

An outgoing teenager who loved music and was a talented hockey player, she went on to earn a degree in advertising and marketing from the University of Lincoln.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 11: The floral tributes at the Titirangi roundabout grow larger for Grace Millane on December 11, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The body of 22-year-old Grace Millane was found in a section of bush just near Scenic Drive in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges on Sunday, following an extensive search for the British tourist. She was seen on Saturday December 1 at the CityLIfe hotel in Auckland. A 26 year old man appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday
New Zealanders left tributes to Grace

She left her home in Wickford, Essex, in October 2018 and flew to South America for the first leg of her gap year.

After arriving in New Zealand on 20 November, she spent 10 days travelling around the upper North Island, including Cape Reinga and the Bay of Islands, before heading to Auckland.

People place tributes during a vigil for British backpacker Grace Millane in Wellington, NZ on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. (AAP Image/ Boris Jancic)
There were mass vigils for Grace, such as this one in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington

Kempson was ordered to serve at least 17 years behind bars – one of the longest non-parole punishments in New Zealand’s history.