THE KILLER of British backpacker Grace Millane has been unmasked as a ‘creepy’ failed salesman who lied about his parents being dead, having cancer and being related to All Blacks rugby stars.
Jesse Kempson, 27, is facing life behind bars when he is sentenced in February following his conviction over Grace’s murder.
A jury took just five hours to return a unanimous guilty verdict after a two-week trial.
The killer reportedly moved out of his flat after a fallout with female housemates and was sacked from his salesman job on the very day he started messaging Grace (pictured top), despite boasting of being a businessman.
Ex-teammates on a softball team described Kempson as ‘creepy’ while ‘his life revolved around girls, talking to girls’.
Kempson killed Grace following a Tinder date on December 1, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand, where they met for several drinks before returning to his apartment.
The University of Lincoln graduate, who was on a round-the-world trip at the time, was killed either that night or in the early hours of the next morning — her 22nd birthday.
After strangling her, Kempson stuffed her lifeless body in a suitcase and disposed of it in a shallow grave in woodland outside the city.
His family have described the killer as a ‘complex’ character, who fell out with his father and did not speak to other relatives.
Following the High Court verdict in Auckland, Grace’s parents, David and Gillian, wept, as did several jurors.
Speaking outside court, an emotional Mr Millane said: ‘It will not reduce the pain and suffering we have had to endure over the past year.
‘Grace was taken in the most brutal fashion a year ago and our lives have been ripped apart.
‘Grace was our sunshine and she will be missed for ever.’
Jurors rejected the defence claim that the death was accidental and occurred during rough sexual intercourse.
The trial heard that the killer was initially interviewed by police because he left a comment on one of Grace’s Facebook photos.
He said the pair went their separate ways after their date.
He later admitted Grace was dead, but said he did not murder her. The killer then took police to where she was buried.
During the trial, jurors heard from forensic experts who examined the accused’s apartment for bloodstains.
They were also shown footage of Grace and the defendant drinking at various bars in Auckland and kissing before they went to his apartment.
Video footage from the lift of her exiting on the third floor marked the last recorded time Grace was seen alive.
Police said phone data showed the killer had used Google to browse websites for large duffel bags, suitcases and car hire after Grace died.
His phone was also used to search for ‘flesh-eating birds’ and ‘are there vultures in New Zealand?’.
Records showed the defendant had searched online for ‘the hottest fire’, ‘large bags near me’ and ‘Waitakere Ranges’.
The killer was remanded in custody until his sentencing.