Killer, whose name can now be reported as Jesse Kempson, also terrorised his girlfriend for months
Tributes are placed at a memorial for Grace Millane after her killing in December 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photograph: Mark Baker/AP
The Guardian – Eleanor Ainge Roy in Queenstown and Stephen D’Antal
The man who murdered British backpacker Grace Millane in New Zealand raped another British tourist just months earlier, it can be revealed, after the convicted killer lost his appeal for his name to be suppressed.
On Tuesday, New Zealand’s supreme court removed an order keeping hidden the name of Millane’s killer, Jesse Kempson.
With the cases concluded, it can now be reported that Kempson – who is serving a life sentence for murdering Millane in December 2018 – raped another British tourist he met via Tinder in early 2018, and faced eight further charges of sexual and other violence against his girlfriend.
Kempson raped the British tourist when she refused sex following a date. The crime took place eight months before he met Millane on the Tinder dating app.
The woman kept the 2018 attack secret until she recognised Kempson, now 28, from media coverage the day he was charged with Millane’s murder.
She immediately went to the police with her complaint. Her case against Kempson was suppressed so as not to prejudice the jury hearing the Millane case in November 2019.
“Your mother rejected you; that may go some way towards explaining your attitude towards women,” said Justice Geoffrey Venning in a New Zealand high court court in November this year as he sentenced Kempson to three-and-a-half years in jail for the rape.
In a statement read to the court at the 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. “Every time I went to sleep, I’d see your eyes popping out of your head, staring at me in anger,” she said.
Vowing never to say his name aloud, she said she had had to check her front door was locked three times every night, but was slowly recovering with support from counsellors and her partner. “I am not scared,” she said. “I am strong. I am not alone. I am loved. I have so much to look forward to in my life and I will not look back. You don’t have any power over me any more.”
Kempson had avoided the rape and eight further violence charges being heard as part of his murder trial.
On learning he had been found guilty of the 2018 rape, Kempson screamed at the judge: “You have no reason to convict me. You’re full of shit mate.” At his sentencing last month, Justice Venning said it was clear Kempson did not accept his offending and told him: “You have no remorse or insight into it.”
In another trial earlier this year, also suppressed until now, Kempson was convicted of terrorising his live-in girlfriend for months in 2017. He subjected her to violent assaults, threatened her with a butcher’s knife and forced her into sex acts after telling her he had been sent by the CIA to kill her. He was sentenced in November this year to seven-and-a-half years in jail.
Kempson is to serve the sentences of his two recent trials – amounting to 11 years – concurrently with the 17-year minimum sentence for Millane’s murder.
His lawyer said he has plans to appeal against both the newly reported convictions.
Kempson, who was estranged from his mother, became obsessed with online dating in his early 20s. He told women, colleagues and friends frequent lies, including that he had cancer, was a senior manager in the mining and supermarket industries, that he had connections to gangs and the police, and that his cousin was a famous All Black.
Millane was murdered in Kempson’s Auckland studio apartment following a Tinder date in December 2018. The then 26-year-old stuffed Millane’s body in a suitcase and buried it in a shallow grave in bushland west of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
He was convicted of the murder of Millane in November 2019 and sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years. Kempson has lost an appeal against the decision and the conviction on Friday last week and sought leave to go to the supreme court, which dismissed his appeal on Tuesday.