Grace Millane: Leo Molloy fined, sentenced to community work for breaching Jesse Kempson's name suppression

Leo Molloy, the well-known Auckland businessman, has been fined $15,000 and sentenced to community work for breaching Grace Millane's killer's name suppression order.

In December 2018, Jesse Kempson murdered Millane, a British backpacker travelling New Zealand, in an Auckland hotel room. During his court process, including after being found guilty of murder in November 2019, Kempson's identity was protected by a suppression order. It was eventually lifted in December last year.

Molloy, the owner of Auckland's Headquarters restaurant, was charged in 2019 with breaching the suppression order on the same day Kempson was convicted of murdering Millane as well as days later. He also revealed Kempson has been charged with the rape of another woman.

Those details were suppressed at the time of posting to protect the integrity of two further trials for violent sexual offending. 

In June, Molloy pleaded guilty to the offence and was on Thursday fined $15,000 and sentenced to 350 hours of community work.

During Thursday's sentencing, the Judge said Molloy was well aware of the suppression orders. There was also a risk the complainants in the other two trials would not get justice.

Molloy was said to have been appalled by how Millane was spoken about during Kempson's trial, feeling as if she was being victim shamed while her killer had his identity protected.

The businessman told reporters after his sentencing: "This is not about me. I am irrelevant. This is about Grace Millane and her family, and the way that they were treated and humiliated by the system". He refused to answer other questions. 

Kempson's identity became public last year after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeals against his murder conviction and sentence and decided to lift the suppression order. Kempson applied to the Supreme Court to keep his name secret, but the top court refused to hear his appeal.

Newshub then also revealed Kempson had been found guilty of a further nine violent offences - including rape and multiple counts of assault - relating to other women. He has filed to appeal those convictions at the Court of Appeal.

Kempson killed Millane after a Tinder date with the British woman on the night of December 1, 2018, the eve of her 22nd birthday. After strangling her to death, Kempson buried Millane's body in a suitcase in the Waitakere Ranges. He was arrested days later and charged with her murder. 

Throughout his trial at the Auckland High Court, Kempson denied murder and claimed the woman's death was an accident during rough sex. 

However, he was found guilty of murder and, in February 2020, sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years. 

Molloy is the only person to be charged with breaching Kempson's name suppression order. However, police have investigated other alleged breaches, including at least two where police exercised discretion and warned the individuals concerned.