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New appeal in hunt for backpacker Peter Falconio’s body 20 years after his murder

Written by on 14/07/2021

Twenty years after he disappeared, a new appeal has been made for information to help find the body of Peter Falconio.

The British backpacker was 28-years-old when he was murdered about 200 miles north of Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory on 14 July, 2001.

Four years later, Bradley Murdoch was convicted of murdering Mr Falconio and of assaulting the Briton’s girlfriend Joanne Lees at gunpoint.

Murdoch is serving a life sentence with a 28-year non-parole period but he has never said where Mr Falconio’s body is hidden.

Police searches have also failed to find the body but Northern Territory Police said on Wednesday that the case remains open.

Detective Senior Sergeant Karl Day said: “Police are urging anyone out there, with any information that may assist Peter’s family in gaining some sort closure, to come forward and contact police.

“We are thinking of Peter’s family and friends on this anniversary and remain hopeful that such a milestone may jolt some information and progress the investigation.”

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Bradley Murdoch was convicted of Peter Falconio's murder in 2005
Image: Bradley Murdoch was convicted of Peter Falconio’s murder in 2005

Mr Falconio had been driving with Ms Lees along the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs, when Murdoch drove up behind them.

He indicated for them to pull over, saying their van might have an engine problem.

Falconio went behind the vehicle with Murdoch to investigate, and Lees heard a gunshot, before Murdoch returned, cable-tying her and covering her head.

She escaped and hid for five hours while Murdoch hunted her with his dog.

She managed to flag down a truck driver and escape.

In February 2017, Ms Lees returned to the outback for the first time in 15 years, hoping to find her boyfriend’s body.

Ms Lees, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was followed by Australian TV cameras for a documentary.

Then aged 43, she told them: “It’s because I love Pete so much and I want to bring him home, and I need to bring him home.”

 Sky News

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