Is Bradley Murdoch innocent? That’s the question on everybody’s lips after a controversial episode of Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery aired on July 19.
The four-part documentary suggests that Peter Falconio’s killer could still be on the loose, with the wrong man, Murdoch, in jail for his murder.
On July 14, 2001, Falconio went missing on a Northern Territory highway, while on holidays with his girlfriend, Joanne Lees.
According to Lees, they were attacked by a man with a gun who flagged them down and while she made it out alive, Falconio’s body has never been found.
The then 24-year-old was bound by cable ties, and with her feet taped together, managed to escape by hiding in bushes and running out in front of a train.
While she has always maintained Murdoch’s involvement, the documentary has now cast doubt over her version of events, since she had been smoking marijuana on the night of the attack.
The pair had reportedly shared a joint at Ti Tree as they drove towards Devil’s Marbles.
“The dope we smoked at Ti Tree was quite strong,” she told police in her fourth interview.
“It made me calm and relaxed — this is the usual effect that I get.
“I’d say one of the effects is that some things that occur while I’m stoned stand out as vibrant and clear in my memory whereas other things are more hazy.”
On the afternoon of July 14, Lees and Falconio headed up north, past Aileron Roadhouse. While Lees says they did not stop, the owner of the diner, Greg Dick, said during the documentary that he and his staff had served them.
He also recalled a “rough-looking” man who had been “living off the land” that spoke to Lees outside — the man he believed was the real killer.
In 2005, after Lees had identified him, Murdoch was convicted of killing Falconio and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
The documentary also claimed that she had identified him only after seeing a story about her own attack on the BBC and that key DNA evidence against him that was found on Lees clothing and in their kombi van was “complex, low-level mixtures” — meaning only small trace amounts found.
Documentary maker Andrew Fraser has called for the investigation to be reopened.
According to The Sun, Lees, now 46, has never recovered from the ordeal and lives alone in Huddersfield, England.
You can catch up on Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery on 7plus.