New Zealand backpacker killer revealed as serial predator

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
22-year-old Grace Millane
22-year-old Grace Millane
Getty Images
  • The New Zealand man who murdered British backpacker Grace Millane committed violent sex crimes against two other women.
  • The Supreme Court overturned orders banning Jesse Shane Kempson being identified as the predator who strangled Millane in 2018 after the pair met through Tinder.
  • A judgement released on Tuesday revealed that he was still awaiting trial on a string of sexual offences when the Millane verdict came in.


The New Zealand man who murdered British backpacker Grace Millane committed violent sex crimes against two other women, a court revealed Tuesday, as the killer was publicly named for the first time.

The Supreme Court overturned orders banning Jesse Shane Kempson being identified as the predator who strangled Millane in December 2018 after the pair met through the online dating app Tinder.

The murder shocked New Zealand, which is usually regarded as a safe place to travel, prompting a tearful apology to Millane's family from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after the young traveller's body was found.

The suppression orders on reporting Kempson's name remained in place even after his murder conviction in November last year, with the court offering no explanation at the time for the highly unusual move.

But a judgement released on Tuesday revealed that he was still awaiting trial on a string of sexual offences when the Millane verdict came in, and the court feared naming him could prejudice those proceedings.

It said the killer had since faced separate trials in October and November this year, and been found guilty at both.

In the first, he was convicted of sexual violation, assault and threatening to kill his former partner.

The second resulted in a rape conviction involving another woman that Kempson met on Tinder. Sentencing for those crimes have not yet been delivered.

The 28-year-old's appeal against the Millane murder verdict was rejected last week and the court found there was no longer any need to stop Kempson being named.

Millane disappeared on the eve of her 22nd birthday, a few days after arriving in Auckland while on a year-long round-the-world trip after graduating from university.

She met her killer for the first time on the evening of her death after matching with him on Tinder and the pair went back to his city-centre apartment after visiting several bars.

Kempson's lawyer's claimed at his trial that she accidentally choked during a sex game gone wrong, a defence rejected by the jury, which unanimously found him guilty.

The case prompted British lawmakers in July to ban the so-called "rough sex defence" in sexual violence cases, with women's advocates pushing for similar reforms in New Zealand.

Kempson is serving a life sentence with a 17-year non-parole period.

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When a Covid-19 vaccine for under 16's becomes available, will you be taking your children to get it?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, immediately!
37% - 2513 votes
I'll wait to see how others respond
26% - 1785 votes
No, I don't think they need it
37% - 2495 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.09
(-0.16)
ZAR/GBP
21.02
(-0.23)
ZAR/EUR
18.22
(-0.19)
ZAR/AUD
11.62
(-0.25)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.54)
Gold
1734.50
(+0.02)
Silver
26.67
(+0.05)
Platinum
1186.51
(+0.42)
Brent Crude
64.40
(-2.56)
Palladium
2310.00
(+0.58)
All Share
66138.05
(-1.99)
Top 40
60754.30
(-2.11)
Financial 15
12200.05
(-1.09)
Industrial 25
86144.34
(-0.81)
Resource 10
67459.85
(-4.14)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo