‘Scumbag’: Face of suspect, 26, accused of murdering British backpacker Grace Millane – as he is abused from the public gallery while friends and family of the 22-year-old victim sit yards from him during his first court appearance
- The body of Grace Millane, 22, was found by police outside Auckland Sunday a week after her disappearance
- Jesse Kempson, 26, this morning appeared in court in Auckland charged with murder. He didn’t enter a plea
- Kempson was arrested and charged with Grace’s murder earlier this week following a large police operation
- Court documents revealed his address as on the same street as the hotel Grace was staying at in Auckland
- The suspect was called a ‘scumbag’ from the public gallery as he appeared in the city’s court on Monday
- This morning New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised on behalf of her nation to Grace’s family
This is the face of the man accused of killing British backpacker Grace Millane – and who was called a ‘scumbag’ from the public gallery this morning as he appeared in court charged with her murder.
Jesse Kempson, 26, sat just yards away from Grace’s family – believed to include her millionaire property developer father David and an uncle – as they attended his first appearance at the District court in Auckland.
Judge Evangelos Thomas told Grace’s family members: ‘I don’t know what to say to you at this time, but your grief must be desperate.
‘We all hope justice will be fair and swift and ultimately brings you some peace.’
And early today New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made an emotional apology on behalf of the country to Grace’s family.
‘Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn’t, and I’m sorry for that,’ she said.
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Jesse Kempson, seen here in his Facebook profile image (left), and playing softball in 2010 (right), was remanded in custody accused of murdering Grace Millane
Kempson, 26, is pictured here alongside a policeman on his way to court on Monday, in an image obscured in accordance with New Zealand law
The body of Grace Millane, 22, (right) was discovered on Sunday as police earlier arrested a 26-year-old suspect over the crime
Flowers left at the crime scene by members of the public paying their respects where her body was discovered on Sunday morning
Grace Millane (left) with her mother Gillian. Grace’s family appeared in court on Monday alongside her suspected killer
An emotional New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised this morning on behalf of her nation to Grace’s family
Kempson, whose family live in Wellington and who was charged at the weekend with the 22-year-old’s murder, looked gloomy as he sat in the dock having been led in wearing blue police overalls.
After 90 minutes standing in the courtroom, he was led back to the cells by prison officers as a man in the gallery shouted ‘scumbag’. Kempson didn’t speak during his appearance and a plea was not entered on his behalf.
Court documents seen showed the suspect had been living on the same road in Auckland as the hotel Grace disappeared from last Saturday.
MailOnline can reveal Kempson was in contact with Grace in the hours before she vanished.
On Saturday December 1, he replied to a Facebook photograph of the Briton, describing her as ‘beautiful, very radiant’. Prosecutors claim he killed her on that Saturday or the day after, which was her 22nd birthday.
Grace, 22, from Essex, was last seen with a man at the CityLife hotel in Auckland at about 9.40pm on December 1.
Her body was discovered by New Zealand police on Sunday morning after a nationwide search and international outcry over her disappearance.
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The scene where the body of British tourist Grace Millane was found by New Zealand police in the Waitakere Ranges outside Auckland
Friends and relatives, including Grace’s brother Declan (pictured here with his sister), shared heartwarming tributes as news broke that her body had been discovered
British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured), had been travelling New Zealand when she disappeared on December 1. Her body was found more than a week later, on Sunday morning
Since early Sunday morning a scene examination has been underway in a section of bush on Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges. Police need to hear from anyone who saw this Toyota Corolla hatchback rental car
TIMELINE OF MISSING BACKPACKER MURDER PROBE
November 20: Grace Millane arrives in New Zealand from Peru. She had been in nearly daily contact with her family.
November 30: Ms Millane posts her last tweet saying ‘I think travelling has changed me I just brought some blue jeans.’
December 1: Ms Millane is seen at the CityLife Hotel, in Auckland, with a ‘male companion’
December 2: The 22-year-old’s birthday. Her family do not hear anything from her, which is unusual behaviour. Just before noon: A red Toyota Corolla hatchback is hired from a central Auckland rental firm
December 5: Her worried family file a missing persons report and pictured of Ms Millane are shared extensively online
December 6: Police release an image of Grace Millane leaving the hostel at 7.15pm on December 1
December 7: Police said they had received dozens of calls to a hotline and more than 25 staff were working on the case, trawling through hours of CCTV footage to trace her movements
After arriving in Auckland her father, David Millane, makes an emotional plea for help finding his daughter. Police reveal they have spoken to the male companion and he is a person of interest. The man was not taken into custody and police said there was no evidence of foul play
December 8: A 26-year-old man is taken into custody at a central Auckland address by police
December 9: Police announce they are searching an area on Scenic Drive, near the Waitakere Reservoir shortly after 4pm: Police find a body they believe to be Ms Millane in vegetation around 10m from the road
A 26-year-old man is charged with her murder. He will appear in court tomorrow morning
Prime Minister Ms Ardern choked back tears as she spoke to reporters about the case.
Addressing Grace’s family, said said: ‘I cannot imagine the grief of her family and what they would be experiencing and feeling right now.
‘My thoughts and prayers are with her father David, who is in the country, her mother Gillian, who cannot be here, and her wider family, friends and loved ones.
‘From the Kiwis I have spoken to, there is this overwhelming sense of hurt and shame that this has happened in our country, a place that prides itself on our hospitality, on our manaakitanga [a Maori term meaning kindness and generosity] especially to those who are visiting our shores.’
Her voice cracking with emotion, the PM added: ‘So on behalf of New Zealand, I want to apologise to Grace’s family. Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn’t, and I’m sorry for that.’
It remains unclear how the pair met or what the possible motive for the killing might be.
Police took the 26-year-old suspect into custody earlier this week and have charged him with Grace’s murder.
The suspect cannot currently be named in New Zealand or on social media due to a court order, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said Grace’s body was found near Scenic Drive, which leads through the Waitakere Ranges, a popular parkland west of Auckland.
She was discovered about 10 yards from the side of the road, hidden in bushland, with her body believed to have been taken there in a rental car that was recently found nearly 200 miles away in the small tourist town of Taupo.
Det Insp Beard said investigators had ‘located a body which we believe to be Grace’.
A body was found about 10m from the road in bushland, and police believe it is Ms Millane’s body. Pictured: A forensics officer poring over the crime scene on Sunday
Detective Inspector Scott Beard said despite the fact formal identification hasn’t yet taken place they believe it is the body of Grace
Pictured: Police standing guard on a section of Scenic Drive in the Waitakere Ranges as forensics teams investigated the crime scene
‘The formal identification process will now take place, however based on the evidence we have gathered over the past few days we expect that this is Grace,’ he said at a press conference near the scene.
‘Obviously this brings the search for Grace to an end. It is an unbearable time for the Millane family and our hearts go out to them.’
Ms Millane, from Essex, graduated from university in September and had embarked on a year-long worldwide trip.
After visiting Peru she arrived in New Zealand on November 20 and had been ‘bombarding’ her family with photos as she kept in near-daily contact with her parents and brothers via social media.
Her father, David Millane, said they last had contact on the day she vanished.
Police said they had received dozens of calls to a hotline and more than 25 staff were working on the case, trawling through hours of CCTV footage to trace her movements.
Her brother also posted a heartfelt tribute to his sister on Sunday as news broke of the discovery of her body.
Declan Millane, wrote out the lyrics to You Are My Sunshine, as police confirmed their worst fears.
The scene where the body of British tourist Grace Millane has been found by New Zealand police in the Waitakere Ranges
David Millane, Grace’s property developer father, broke down in tears as he begged for help finding his backpacker daughter after she vanished in New Zealand