WELLINGTON: The New Zealand man who murdered British backpacker Grace Millane committed violent sex crimes against two other women, a court revealed Tuesday, as the killer was publicly named for the first time.
The Supreme Court overturned orders banning Jesse Shane Kempson being identified as the predator who strangled Millane in December 2018 after the pair met through the online dating app Tinder.
The murder shocked New Zealand, which is usually regarded as a safe place to travel, prompting a tearful apology to Millane’s family from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after the young traveller’s body was found.
The suppression orders on reporting Kempson’s name remained in place even after his murder conviction in November last year, with the court offering no explanation at the time for the highly unusual move.
But a judgement released Tuesday revealed that he was still awaiting trial on a string of sexual offences when the Millane verdict came in, and the court feared naming him could prejudice those proceedings.
It said the killer had since faced separate trials in October and November this year, and been found guilty at both.
In the first, he was convicted of sexual violation, assault and threatening to kill his former partner.
The second resulted in a rape conviction involving another woman that Kempson met on Tinder. Sentencing for those crimes have not yet been delivered.
The 28-year-old’s appeal against the Millane murder verdict was rejected last week and the court found there was no longer any need to stop Kempson being named.
Millane disappeared on the eve of her 22nd birthday, a few days after arriving in Auckland while on a year-long round-the-world trip after graduating from university.
She met her killer for the first time on the evening of her death after matching with him on Tinder and the pair went back to his city-centre apartment after visiting several bars.
Kempson’s lawyer’s claimed at his trial that she accidentally choked during a sex game gone wrong, a defence rejected by the jury, which unanimously found him guilty.
The case prompted British lawmakers in July to ban the so-called “rough sex defence” in sexual violence cases, with women’s advocates pushing for similar reforms in New Zealand.
Kempson is serving a life sentence with a 17-year non-parole period.