Grace Millane Murder: Where is Jesse Shane Kempson Now?

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The Helena Coan directorial, ‘The Lie: The Murder of Grace Millane,’ gives us a detailed account of the harrowing murder of 21-year-old British woman Grace Millane who was killed during her solo holiday in New Zealand. Through her perspective and fate, the true-crime documentary highlights the ignorant attitude of society when it comes to the safety of women and the violence towards them. The events that led to the tragic demise of Grace, the investigation that followed, and the conviction of the killer/s are highlighted in the documentary through CCTV footage and exclusive interviews with Grace’s loved ones.

Grace Millane Was Found Dead During Her Solo Holiday in New Zealand

On December 2, 1996, David and Gillian Millane were blessed with a little bundle of joy when they gave birth to Grace Emmie Rose Millane in Wickford, England. Growing up in a well-to-do family, she shared the love and care of her parents with her two brothers Declan and Michael Millane. After graduating from high school, she earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing from the University of Lincoln.

Image Credit: forthelost/Find a Grave

In order to fulfill her dream of going on a solo backpacking tour, she took a gap year and began exploring different parts of the world. During her trip, she spent six wonderful weeks in South America before she began traveling across New Zealand for two weeks, from November 20, 2018. After covering the upper North Island, she reached the city of Auckland on November 30. What appeared to be some of the best weeks of her life soon turned into her last ones as on December 1, 2018, just a day before her 22nd birthday, she went missing before 10 pm. When the police launched an investigation, it took them more than a week to recover her lifeless body, which was found in the Waitākere Ranges on December 9, 2018.

Upon further investigation, the police, with the help of the public, found a shovel that was linked to the murder on December 13. The autopsy results showed that the solo backpacker was strangled while her arms and chest were bruised. The pressure on her neck reportedly lasted for four or five minutes, eventually killing her. The case ended up opening avenues of conversations surrounding safety of Tinder usage and the violent against women.

A Tinder Date Turned Fatal For Grace Millane

In the middle of her solo trip, Grace Millane moved to New Zealand after spending some time in Peru. Being a solo traveler around the time of her birthday, she had been using Tinder casually without necessarily looking to meet someone. However, Jesse Shane Kempson, one of her matches on the app, managed to convince her to meet him on December 1 for a fun night out. Before meeting Grace that night, he headed to his local bar, which was right next to the CityLife Hotel, and drank four bottles of beer on his own. From the moment the two met, they clicked with each other as they shared many laughter and smiles with each other.

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Grace and Jesse stopped by several places to eat and drink throughout the evening. But after sharing several drinks, Jesse again convinced her to join him in his room at the CityLife Hotel. So, after 9:30 pm that night, the pair entered Room 308, where he reportedly strangled Grace to death. About four hours later, at 1:30 am, Jesse searched for “hottest fire” and “Waitakere ranges” on his phone while Grace was dead in his room. The next morning, he started using Tinder yet again and texted another woman, arranging a date with her later that day, all while Grace’s lifeless body was still in the room.

When Grace’s family and friends did not receive any reply from her on the day of his 22nd birthday, her loved ones were concerned about her well-being and reported her missing. Meanwhile, Jesse purchased a large suitcase and some cleaning products, before going to a car hire firm on December 2. He returned to Room 308 around 5:45 pm and also hired Rug Doctor in order to clean the carpet, which might have traces of her blood. After cleaning up the crime scene, he picked up a trolley from the hotel’s reception, carried two large suitcases down to his rental car, and transferred the bags into the car. From the looks of it, he then proceeded to bury her body in the mountainous Waitākere Ranges.

When there were no significant developments in Grace’s disappearance case, on December 8, the authorities declared that they would treat it as a homicide case. After tracking Jesse’s movements through the CCTV footage of the hotel, the police identified the 26-year-old man as the prime suspect and was charged with the murder of Grace on December 8, 2018. The next day, the detectives found her body in the Waitākere Ranges, which is nearly 12 miles outside Auckland.

Jesse Shane Kempson Remains Behind Bars in Auckland

The trial of Jesse Shane Kempson for the murder of Grace Millane commenced on November 4, 2019. Jesse and his defense claimed that the pair were indulging in consensual sex, during which Grace had died. After three long weeks, the jury returned with a guilty verdict for Jesse on November 22. Following the conviction, the convict was handed a life imprisonment sentence on February 21, 2020, with 17 years behind bars without the possibility of parole.

Later on, Jesse even filed an appeal against his conviction and sentencing, only to be dismissed on December 18, 2020. Apart from the murder of Grace, he had also been convicted of rape and sexual abuse charges in the case of two other women in October and November 2020. Currently, it appears that Jesse is serving his sentence in the Auckland Prison on Paremoremo Road in Paremoremo, Auckland.

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