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​Body Language Expert Reveals Moments Grace Millane's Killer Gave Away His Guilt In Police Interview

​Body Language Expert Reveals Moments Grace Millane's Killer Gave Away His Guilt In Police Interview

In discovery+ documentary The Murder Of Grace Millane: A Faking It Special, we see footage from Kempson's early police interviews

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

A body language expert has revealed the key moments that Grace Millane's killer gave away his guilt during an early police interview.

Millane, a 21-year-old British tourist who had been backpacking in New Zealand after graduating from university, went for a drink with Jesse Kempson in Auckland after matching with him on Tinder.

She was last seen at 9.41pm on 1 December 2018 at a hotel with Kempson, who initially denied having anything to do with her disappearance - before later claiming she had died during consensual sex.

However, evidence proved Kempson had tried to cover his tracks, having transported Millane's body in a suitcase to bury her in a shallow grave.

Lucie Blackman Trust

In a new discovery+ documentary, The Murder Of Grace Millane: A Faking It Special, we see footage from Kempson's early police interviews, which show there were 'signs of deception' from the start.

In one clip, he tells the investigating officers: "So I was talking with Grace on Tinder. We'd matched on Friday. I saw that we'd matched the next day on the Saturday."

Even at this initial stage, experts believe there were potential giveaways of Kempson's guilt.

Dr Cliff Lansley, a body language expert, explains in the documentary: "As soon as the word 'Grace' is mentioned, he starts to tense up. We see this little tweak under the table of the legs coming together, and squeezing his hands in between his thighs.


"This is an indication that, 'Okay, here we go. This is the difficult area, I've now got to speak about Grace'.

"So if he wants to get away with deception or lies, one of the things he can do is clamp himself with his hands and try and stay still."

As Kempson talks about when he saw they'd matched on the dating app, he goes to take a sip of water.


Lansley continues: "So the tension is reinforced by him now taking a sip of water.

"When we get anxious, our mouth goes drier, and often we'll swallow or lick the lips, or take a sip of water when we hit an anxiety point.

"So with the combination of dry mouth, hands under the table, clamping of legs, we've got three indicators that suggest anxiety and fear.

"This could be the fear of being caught in a lie."

Body language expert Dr Cliff Lansley.

Later in the documentary, we also see the moment Kempson lies to police about his movements, saying he had woken up at 10am, despite being caught on CCTV leaving the hotel at 8.14am.

When confronted, Kempson sticks with his original answer, saying he was 'sure' it was 10am.

Lansley says: "So when he says he's still sure of it, we get this little micro-headshake 'no', negating the response.

"He's negating the affirmative claim.

"We know stress has increased significantly, because he's moved away from the question. He's moved significantly back in his chair.

"His hands and legs are starting to tense under the table, and if you look closely at the skin tone on his cheek, it's reddened up significantly."

Lansley notes the change in Kempson's skin colour during the interview, saying there is a clear increase of 'three-four shades of redness'.

"The capillaries in the cheek, the nose and the ears are one cell thick," he explains.

"And when the blood pressure increases the stress response, it increases the size of those capillaries and the redness shows through the skin.

"We've hit a hotspot here. The micro-headshake 'no', his body moving away, the hand and leg tension underneath the table, and then we've got the increased anxiety visible on his face with the redness.


"Three indicators across two communication channels is enough for us to have confidence that this is deception and he's faking it."

As he continues to relay his story to police, Kempson recalls how he had strangled Grace while they had sex, and how he had attempted to shake her awake the morning after, having discovered she had died.

As Lansley points out, features in his behaviour suggest anger rather than panic, further suggesting his story has been fabricated.

Kempson initially claimed he and Millane had parted ways that night, but CCTV cameras captured them at his hotel.

"What he's mimicking with his gestures and his upper lip is violent anger," Lansley says.

"So, the upper lip is tightened, the upper margin of his lip has rolled inwards into the mouth. This is anger," he says. "He seems to be reliving that moment not only cognitively but emotionally, and it's oozing out of his pours and it's almost like it's a replay of the moment. A violent, angry episode, not a sad, desperate, fearful episode."

Eventually, Kempson's story was undermined by the wealth of evidence police had against him, with DI Scott Beard adding: "He knew he's been caught; he knew we had the CCTV."


In November 2019, Jesse Kempson was tried and convicted for the murder of Grace Millane and sentenced to life in prison, where he will serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars.

It also transpired he had raped another British tourist eight months before he murdered Millane, and had been convicted of a string of offences against a former partner.

The Murder Of Grace Millane: A Faking It Special is available to stream now exclusively on discovery+.

Featured Image Credit: discovery+

Topics: World News, News, No-Article-Matching, Documentary