The Man Who Murdered Grace Millane Would Later Be Dubbed the Tinder Killer — Where Is He Now?

"Grace was our sunshine. She did not deserve to be murdered in such a barbaric way in her OE [overseas experience] year."

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Mar. 18 2024, Published 5:25 p.m. ET

The NZ Herald was in the courtroom in November 2019 when forensic pathologist Dr. Simon Stables testified about discovering the body of 21-year-old Grace Millane. She had been placed inside a suitcase that was buried near Auckland. He went on to state that "significant bruising" on the left side of Millane's neck had led him to conclude that significant pressure would have to have occurred.

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The defense asked Dr. Stables if he could tell if that bruise happened during a consensual activity, to which he said no that wasn't something he could determine based on bruising. Sitting next to the attorney asking that question was Jesse Kempson, the person accused of murdering Millane. He maintains her death was accidental, during rough sex they engaged in willingly. Ultimately the jury decided that wasn't the case, and found Kempson guilty of murder. Where is he now? Here's what we know.

Where is Jesse Kempson? He's serving a life sentence in a New Zealand prison.

Almost one year after her death Millane's killer was found guilty and as such, justice was finally served. In December 2019, "a jury of seven women and five men took just five hours to unanimously agree that the accused, who cannot be named, had murdered Millane in the hotel room where they had gone after their night out." The reason why Kempson wasn't named is because in New Zealand, a court can suppress the identify of a person accused of a crime in order to protect their right to a fair trial.

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Jesse Kempson during his sentencing; Photograph of Grace Millane
Source: YouTube/RNZ (video still)

(L-R): Jesse Kempson; photograph of Grace Millane

After the verdict was read, Millane's father made a statement outside of the courtroom. David Millane said that nothing could take away the anguish he and his family have endured over the course of the past year. "Grace was taken from us in the most brutal fashion," he shared. "Our lives have been ripped apart. This will be with us for the rest of our lives. Grace was a beautiful, talented, loving daughter."

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Two months after Kempson was found guilty, Justice Simon Moore focused on his actions after Millane died, per The Guardian. "You didn’t ring an ambulance, or call the police, instead you embarked on a well-planned and sustained and coordinated course of action to conceal any evidence of what had occurred in your room," he said to Kempson. This contributed to his decision to send Kempson to prison for life. He will be eligible for parole after 17 years.

What happened to Grace Millane?

In December 2018, Grace Millane was traveling through New Zealand doing what is commonly known as an Overseas Experience (OE). This is when one travels while working for a span of one to three years in order to gain a wide variety of skills. Millane, a UK citizen, was in Auckland when she was killed. The night before she was murdered, Millane met Kempson on Tinder and set up a date.

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"I click with him so well," she texted a friend, while hanging out with Kempson, via Sky News. That was the last time anyone would hear from Millane. By the time they met up, Kempson had already been drinking at another bar and well before they started chatting, he had already terrified several women he met on the popular dating app. One woman later told authorities that while having sex with Kempson, she had to "fight for her life."

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Kempson and Millane hopped around several spots during their date, drinking and eating along the way. In CCTV footage taken from various locations, both seem relaxed and happy. Around 9:30 p.m., the duo ended up at Kempson's hotel and four hours later, he was engaged in bizarre internet searches. He looked up "'hottest fire' and 'Waitakere ranges,' the location where he would later try to bury Grace in a shallow grave." He also snapped seven photos of Millane after she was dead.

The next day, Kempson left Millane's body in his room so he could purchase a suitcase and cleaning supplies. Kempson then rented a car, and put the suitcase with Millane's body in it while he went on another date with a woman he met on Tinder. Later, Kempson rented a shampoo cleaner for the hotel and on his way out bought a shovel. By Dec. 3, 2018, Millane's body was buried. "Grace was our sunshine," said her father. "She did not deserve to be murdered in such a barbaric way in her OE [overseas experience] year."

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