Grace Millane’s killer Jesse Kempson is described as an ‘oddball’ by former friends
Grace Millane’s killer was a serial fantasist who made up a tissue of lies to feed his obsession of having violent sex with young women, Mail Online can reveal.
Jesse Kempson told would-be sexual partners that his cousin was an All Black rugby star, that he had cancer and that his parents were dead in bizarre attempts to seduce them.
But in reality the ‘creepy’ 27-year-old was just a failed salesman who was sacked shortly before he murdered Ms Millane – a former student from Wickford, Essex, on a gap year – in an Auckland hotel room after a Tinder date last December.
Described by teammates on the amateur softball side he played for as an ‘oddball’ and ‘loner’, the good-looking sportsman said he was has a law degree and was a successful businessman.
Indeed Kempson’s family describe him as a ‘complex character who had fallen out with his father two years ago and doesn’t speak to most of his other relatives.
His grandmother says that he was ‘a very confused young man’ and paints a picture of his chaotic life living with her in Sydney after his parents split up.
Ms Millane, from Wickford, in Essex, the daughter of a builder, was murdered in a New Zealand hotel room last December by a man she had met just a few hours before
Kempson – a salesman who was sacked from his job on the day he began talking to her on Tinder – was found guilty of murdering her today in Auckland after a three-week trial
Ms Millane’s father David touches his eye outside at Auckland High Court after the jury retired to consider their verdicts – then came back five hours later to find his daughter’s killer guilty
His grandfather said that he ‘loved his sport’ but in more recent times he’d been ‘at a bit of a loose end’.
‘He was a nice kid but he sort of fell out with everybody, which is what happens with broken up marriages,’ he said.
He added that the killer, who had a child with a woman in Australia, had not spoken to his father for two years because of ‘a difference in opinion on life’.
A former teammate told Mail Online: ‘He was creepy towards girls. His life revolved around girls, taking to girls.
‘He was always trying to get with younger girls… he was very quiet around the boys.’
They said that he and some other men had intervened once when he tried to spark a relationship with a woman, warning her off spending time with him.
Because he made up so many lies, it’s difficult to unpick the truth about his life.
What is known is that just weeks before he strangled Ms Millane to death, he posted what seemed to be a soul-searching confession to deep personal flaws on Facebook.
Ms Millane (pictured), the daughter of an Essex-based builder, was on a round-the-world trip when she died on the eve of her 22nd birthday last December
Ms Millane (pictured with her brothers) graduated from the University of Lincoln with a Bachelor of Advertising and Marketing in September before embarking on a world trip
‘I just want anyone who I’ve hurt, let down, to know I’m truly sorry from my heart,’ wrote the then-26-year-old as he owned up to ‘arrogance and selfishness’ that had damaged his close relationships.
‘But with that being said,’ he wrote, ‘we can change how we treat each other and over time I’ve learnt how much compassion we all have as people.
‘When we grow up, we make mistakes. That’s how we improve.’
Online, at least, his efforts to turn his life around appeared convincing.
But in real life, he was on the brink, compulsively turning to Tinder and weaving fantastic tales of wealth and success to lure girls to motels or his £190 a week studio apartment in an inner city hotel.
Ms Millane was seen on CCTV on a date with Kempson just hours before he strangled her
Kempson had moved there after a fallout with female housemates, increasingly concerned about his mood swings, attempted womanising and threatening behaviour.
He boasted of being a businessman and of plans to buy a glamorous restaurant on Auckland’s waterfront.
It was all lies, and, in fact, what was not revealed in court was that he had been sacked from his job as a salesman the very day he and Grace began messaging each other on Tinder; Friday, November 30.
The reasons remain unknown, but may well have affected the killer’s frame of mind the next day when he set out to meet Grace with a hug beside the Christmas tree at the SkyCity casino.
Disturbingly, just 11 minutes before she was last seen alive, the killer again used social media to call his date ‘beautiful’ and ‘radiant’.
He was then seen on CCTV rooting through her handbag while she went to the toilet as they drank cocktails together on the date.
Certainly, there was no compassion for the young graduate as he squeezed the life out of her during sex, took appalling pictures of her body, watched horrific porn and crammed her into a suitcase which he buried in the woods.
Last night, his own stepbrother said the family were divided over the verdict and he doubted whether the powerfully built man set out to kill.
Ms Millane’s killer played for an amateur softball team in Auckland. He told would-be sexual partners that his cousin was a rugby star for the All Blacks and that he was suffering cancer
Friends of the ‘oddball’, seen on CCTV with Ms Millane going back to his hotel room, say he had an obsession with having violent sex with young women and pursued them on social media
Family of the killer, seen here taking a suitcase containing her body out of the hotel in a lift, say he was a ‘complicated young man’ who lived with his grandparents when his parents split
‘It’s in the moment,’ he told TVNZ. ‘He had the opportunity and he kept going and he took Grace’s life. I don’t think it was a violence thing, to me I think it was power. It was in a split moment he enjoyed the power and kept going.
But the man unequivocally condemned his stepbrother as a ‘pathological liar that lies over pointless things and continues to lie until the point where he has got no out, absolutely no out, and then he just breaks down and cries and runs away.
‘But he can’t do that any more thankfully. It’s just absolutely terrible that a life had to be lost because of that.’
The killer’s tears in a police interview in which he lied over and over again about how Grace had died were ‘more tears for himself.’
And the family, he said, wanted Grace’s loved ones to know how deeply they felt for them. ‘I’m just so incredibly sorry for their loss, to know it’s one of our family members, even though it’s not our actions, it’s very difficult and I can’t imagine the pain and hurt and what they have had to go through in court to hear all the stuff about BDSM and all the actions (the killer) took.
‘It’s all because he does not have any shred of a decent human being inside of him and could not just confess to the fact that he murdered her.’