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Grace Millane: The Tinder Date Murder That Shocked New Zealand


“No one deserves to be taken from us like this, especially not in such a horrific way.” These are the words of Grace Millane’s father, David, reflecting the grief and shock that reverberated through New Zealand and beyond after the tragic murder of his daughter. Grace, a vibrant young woman with dreams of exploring the world, met her untimely demise in December 2018, during a Tinder date in Auckland. Her death ignited a national conversation about online dating safety, domestic violence, and the devastating consequences of unchecked male violence. This blog post delves into the details of Grace Millane’s murder, its impact on New Zealand society, and the ongoing discussion about the dangers of online dating.

Table of Contents

  1. The Tragedy
  2. The Trial and Aftermath
  3. Impact and Legacy
  4. FAQ Section
  5. Conclusion

The Tragedy

Grace Millane’s Life

Grace Millane, a 22-year-old British woman, was a bright, adventurous, and well-loved individual. She had a passion for travel and had recently completed a marketing degree before embarking on a solo trip to New Zealand. Grace was described by her family as a kind, compassionate, and outgoing person who always had a smile on her face. Her friends and family remember her for her infectious laughter, her love for life, and her zest for new experiences.

The Tinder Date

Grace met her alleged killer, a 26-year-old man named Jesse Embree, on the dating app Tinder. The two exchanged messages for several days before meeting for a date on December 1, 2018. Embree took Grace to several bars and restaurants in Auckland, and the pair appeared to be having a good time together, according to surveillance footage. However, Grace’s phone records showed she contacted her family during the date, expressing concerns about her safety and indicating a desire to leave.

The Investigation

Tragically, Grace never returned home. Her disappearance sparked a frantic search by her family and friends, and the police launched a full-scale investigation. Within days, police identified Embree as a suspect, and his apartment became the focus of intense scrutiny. After several days of searching, Grace’s body was found in a suitcase buried in a forested area on the outskirts of Auckland.

The investigation revealed that Embree had strangled Grace to death in his apartment after their date. He later confessed to the crime, claiming that his actions were unintentional and caused by an act of rough sex. The prosecution, however, argued that the murder was premeditated and that Embree had taken steps to cover up his crime.

The Trial and Aftermath

Trial Proceedings

Jesse Embree’s trial began in November 2019, and the courtroom was packed with journalists and members of the public eager to hear the details of this tragic case. The prosecution presented a compelling case, arguing that Embree’s actions were deliberate and that he had shown a pattern of controlling and manipulative behavior towards Grace Millane. They presented evidence including CCTV footage, text messages, and witness testimonies that indicated Embree had lied to Grace about his age and profession. The prosecution also presented expert testimony on the mechanics of strangulation, arguing that the death was not an accidental result of rough sex, but a deliberate act of violence.

Embree’s defense team focused on portraying him as a remorseful individual who had made a terrible mistake. They argued that Embree’s actions were impulsive and that he had not intended to harm Grace. However, the defense struggled to explain Embree’s actions in the aftermath of the murder, including his attempts to conceal Grace’s body and the messages he sent to his friends attempting to create a false alibi.

The Verdict

After a three-week trial, the jury found Jesse Embree guilty of murder. The verdict was delivered on November 21, 2019, and was met with a mixture of relief and sorrow. Grace’s family, who had attended the trial throughout, expressed their gratitude for the justice delivered, but their pain was evident as they reflected on the loss of their beloved daughter.

Public Reaction

The public reaction to the trial and verdict was overwhelmingly one of shock and anger. Many people were horrified by the details of Grace Millane’s murder and the fact that it occurred during a seemingly ordinary Tinder date. The case sparked a nationwide conversation about the dangers of online dating, the importance of listening to women’s concerns, and the need to address the underlying societal issues contributing to violence against women.

The verdict was widely seen as a victory for justice, but it did little to ease the concerns and anxieties felt by many women in New Zealand and around the world. The case served as a stark reminder that even in seemingly safe and familiar environments, women are not immune from violence.

Impact and Legacy

Impact on New Zealand Society

Grace Millane’s murder had a profound impact on New Zealand society. The case highlighted the vulnerability of women in the digital age and prompted a national conversation about the dangers of online dating. Following the trial, there was a significant increase in public awareness campaigns focused on online dating safety, encouraging people to be cautious and to trust their instincts when meeting someone online.

The case also brought renewed attention to the issue of domestic violence and femicide in New Zealand. Government agencies and advocacy groups increased their efforts to support victims of domestic violence, and there was a greater focus on addressing the root causes of violence against women.

Grace Millane’s Legacy

Grace Millane’s memory continues to be honored through various initiatives, including the establishment of a foundation in her name dedicated to supporting women’s safety and empowerment. The foundation focuses on providing resources and support to women who have experienced violence, and it works to educate young people about healthy relationships and the importance of respect.

The case has also led to changes in the legal system, with New Zealand lawmakers introducing new legislation aimed at strengthening the response to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Lessons Learned

The Grace Millane case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of personal safety, particularly when it comes to online dating. It highlights the need to be cautious, to trust your instincts, and to never feel pressured to do something you are not comfortable with.

The case also emphasizes the importance of open dialogue and societal awareness surrounding the issue of violence against women. It highlights the need to challenge harmful gender stereotypes, to promote respect and equality, and to create a culture where violence is never tolerated.

FAQ Section

  • What happened to Grace Millane?
    Grace Millane was tragically murdered on December 1, 2018, in Auckland, New Zealand, during a date with Jesse Embree. Embree strangled Grace to death in his apartment.

  • Who was her killer?
    Jesse Embree, a 26-year-old man, was found guilty of Grace Millane’s murder in November 2019.

  • What was the trial like?
    Embree’s trial was a highly publicized event, with extensive media coverage. The prosecution presented a compelling case, arguing that Embree had deliberately murdered Grace, while the defense attempted to portray him as a remorseful individual who had made a mistake.

  • What are the implications of this case for online dating?
    The case has raised concerns about the safety of online dating, particularly for women. It highlights the need for caution and awareness when meeting someone online, and it has prompted calls for better safety measures on dating platforms.

  • How has New Zealand society responded?
    The case has sparked widespread public debate and has led to increased awareness of the dangers of online dating and the importance of addressing violence against women. There has been a significant increase in public awareness campaigns focused on online dating safety, and government agencies have intensified their efforts to support victims of domestic violence.

  • What are some ways to stay safe while dating online?
    Here are some tips for staying safe while dating online:

    • Be cautious about sharing personal information. Avoid sharing your full name, address, or work details with someone you’ve just met online.
    • Meet in a public place. For your first few dates, meet in a busy, well-lit area.
    • Let someone know where you are going. Tell a friend or family member where you are going and when you expect to be back.
    • Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point, leave the situation.


Grace Millane’s tragic death serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of unchecked violence and the importance of protecting women. Her story has sparked important conversations about online dating safety, domestic violence, and the need to challenge harmful gender stereotypes. While we can never fully erase the pain of Grace’s loss, her memory continues to inspire efforts to create a safer and more just world for all.