BRITISH backpacker Grace Millane was murdered in New Zealand in December 2018 by serial rapist Jesse Kempson.
After a court suppression order protected the killer's name from being revealed, it was finally lifted in December 2020. But who was Grace and where did she come from?
Who was Grace Millane?
Grace graduated with a marketing degree from the University of Lincoln in September and went travelling on October 26, 2018.
The outgoing former student spent six weeks in South America as part of a gap year.
She was later hoping to travel to Thailand, the Philippines and Australia.
The 21-year-old from Wickford, Essex, arrived in New Zealand alone on November 19, 2018.
When was Grace Millane last seen?
Grace was last seen on Saturday, December 1, 2018, the eve of her 22nd birthday.
She travelled to the North Island city in late November but alarms bells rang when she failed to respond to birthday well-wishes on December 2.
Grace had been staying at the £10-a-night Base Backpackers on Queen Street, a popular location for travellers in the centre of the city.
Her family was left baffled after they lost contact with Grace, describing her silence as "completely out of character".
She was last spotted on CCTV going into a hotel with her killer.
What happened to Grace Millane in New Zealand?
A jury unanimously found that Grace's date, 28-year-old Jesse Kempson, murdered Grace in December 2018 and then buried her body in a suitcase.
Police launched a murder investigation after finding her body in a suitcase in the Waitakere Ranges, a beauty spot on the outskirts of Auckland.
The pair had been on a Tinder date and were seen kissing at the Bluestone Room bar in Auckland.
They then walked arm-in-arm a short distance into the lobby of the CityHigh hotel where the killer was living.
Lawyers for the defendant argued the Brit had died during "rough" sex after consensual choking went wrong.
But a trial found Grace's death was intentional and prolonged.
It was found she would have recovered if the pressure on her neck had been released in the five to 10 minutes it had taken her to die.
After he was contacted by police, Kempson wove an elaborate web of lies, at first claiming he and Grace had parted as friends and had planned to meet the next day.
When trapped by CCTV footage showing him buying the suitcase, however, the killer changed his story, claiming Grace had told him she had learned BDSM sex games with a former boyfriend and had asked him to choke her during intercourse.
The jury also heard of Kempson's history of exaggerated stories and lies – such as having cancer and being a professional athlete.
Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey had told the jury the killer had “eroticised her death.”
The prosecution also described how the man had taken "intimate" pictures of Grace's dead body, viewed porn while she lay dead in the room, and searched terms like "rigor mortis."
November 20 – Grace arrives in New Zealand after travelling in Peru
December 1 – She is seen at the CityLife Hotel, in Auckland, with a 'male companion'
December 2 – Her family hear nothing from her on her 22nd birthday. On the same day a red Toyota Corolla hatchback is rented from a car hire firm
December 5 – A missing persons report is filed by her worried family
December 6 – Police release an image of Grace leaving the hostel on the evening of December 1
December 7 – Her dad David Millane makes an emotional plea for help as police reveal they have spoken to the male companion
December 8 – A 26-year-old man is taken into custody
December 9 – Police find a body they believe to be Grace
December 10 – A 26-year-old man appears in court charged with her murder
November 4- Murder trial begins in Auckland
November 22 – The man, now 27, is convicted of murder
December 22 – A court order surpressing the killer's name is lifted, revealing the murderer as 28-year-old Jesse Kempson of Auckland, New Zealand
What has Grace's family said?
After Kempson was found guilty of Grace's death her parents, David and Gill Millane, said their family had been "ripped apart".
“The verdict of murder today will be welcomed by every member of the Millane family and friends of Grace,” Mr Millane said outside Auckland High Court.
But he added: “It will not reduce the pain and suffering we have had to endure over the past year.
“Grace was taken away from us in the most brutal fashion a year ago and our lives and family have been ripped apart. This will be with us for the rest of our lives.”
He continued: “Grace was a beautiful, talented, loving daughter. Grace was our sunshine and she will be missed forever.
“She did not deserve to be murdered in such a barbaric way.”
Her brother Declan Millane wrote out the lyrics to You Are My Sunshine, along with a series of pictures of them both, as the desperate hunt to find her came to a close.
He wrote: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.
"You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away."
Tragically, Grace's father David died November 2020 after a long battle with cancer, New Zealand police said.
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