Man who murdered backpacker Grace Millane abused, raped other women before 2018 slaying

Jami Ganz, New York Daily News

The man who killed Grace Millane during her trip to New Zealand was found guilty of abusing two other women before murdering the British backpacker.

New Zealand’s top court on Tuesday lifted an order keeping 28-year-old Jesse Kempson’s name hidden, CNN reports. The court noted his name had been concealed after his conviction for Millane’s murder, so as not to prejudice the jury at his abuse trials, which took place this October and November.

In February of this year, Kempson was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum 17-year non-parole period after he was found guilty of murdering Millane on Dec. 1, 2018, the night before her 22nd birthday. The pair met on a dating app that month.

In October, he was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for multiple crimes against a former partner. The crimes, which his lawyer Tiffany Cooper confirmed occurred before Millane’s murder, included threatening to kill, assault with a weapon, as well as sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

During a separate trial last month, Kempson was convicted of raping another British woman, whom he met through the dating app Tinder, according to the Supreme Court decision.

For that crime, which took place just months before he killed Millane, Kempson was sentenced to 3.5 years behind bars, according to Cooper. That victim was in the country for a working holiday.

Kempson chose trials in front of a judge and without a jury for both abuse cases. Following both guilty verdicts, he unsuccessfully appealed to keep his name concealed.

He’s appealing all three sentences and convictions.

Millane and Kempson went to multiple bars on Dec. 1, 2018, before they retreated to his hotel. She was missing for over a week before her remains were found in West Auckland.

At the 2019 trial, the defense argued that Millane’s death an accidental result of consensual “rough sex” and consensual choking.

The jury didn’t buy it and found the then-anonymous Kempson guilty of murder, noting he strangled the young woman before cramming her body in a suitcase and leaving her remains in a wooded area.