When Grace Millane arrived in New Zealand she was excited to see the sights and explore.
The young backpacker was on a solo OE and arrived in New Zealand in November 2019, after making her way through South America.
She travelled around the Northland area and arrived back in Auckland city on November 30.
She checked into a backpackers and made plans for the weekend, using the dating app Tinder to connect with a local man.
She never could have imagined that she had just matched with her killer and that the next night, the eve of her 22nd birthday, she would be dead and her name would be making international headlines.
In this month’s episode of NZME podcast A Moment In Crime, senior journalist Anna Leask looks back at Millane’s murder and the journey for justice.
Millane was strangled to death in a downtown Auckland apartment on the night of December 1, 2019.
Her killer was Jesse Kempson, a man she had met through a dating app and met for the first time just hours before she died.
After killing Millane, Kempson went about trying to cover up his crime and dumped her body in the Waitākere Ranges.
When Kempson finally went on trial he claimed that while he had killed Millane, it was not murder.
Rather, it was rough sex gone terribly wrong – an accident.
The Crown maintained Kempson’s actions were deliberate, cold and callous.
A jury found him guilty and he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years before he is eligible for parole.
It later emerged that Kempson had sexually assaulted two other women and had been charged as a result.
In relation to those women, he was convicted in two separate trials of serious sexual offending.
Kempson’s name was suppressed for all three trials and he could only be named in December 2020 after he had exhausted all of his appeal options.
A Moment In Crime is written, hosted and produced by Anna Leask with help from the NZME sound and vision team.
Leask has been covering crime and justice for the Herald for more than a decade and has reported on most of the major incidents and events over that time.
“Each month I’ll take you inside some of our most infamous incidents, notorious offenders and behind the scenes of high-profile trials and events to show you what’s really happening in your backyard,” she said.
“Heroes and villains battle for justice to be done, and it seems no matter how horrifying the story, we always want to know more.
“If you want to know more about the cases that have shocked and shaped our nation – from murders and massacres to violent villains and the utterly unbelievable – join me for A Moment In Crime.”
In our first episode, we looked back at the Christchurch terror attack – what unfolded on March 15 and how it changed New Zealand.
The podcast has also delved into the cold case murder of Kayo Matsuzawa, the murder of Feilding farmer Scott Guy, the cold case of schoolgirl Alicia O’Reilly, double killer Jason Somerville – infamous for the Christchurch House of Horrors, and the Lundy and Crewe family murders.
NZME has a raft of other podcasts produced by journalists and broadcasters from the Herald, Newstalk ZB, ZM, The Hits and others – all available on iHeart radio.
To subscribe to A Moment In Crime visit iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
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