Minimum 28-year sentence for Falconio murderer

Australian Bradley Murdoch has been sentenced to a minimum of 28 years in prison for the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio.

Murdoch, 47, was found guilty of Mr Falconio’s murder at the Northern Territory Supreme Court in Darwin. He was also convicted of the abduction and assault of Mr Falconio’s girlfriend, Joanne Lees.

During the trial, the court heard how Murdoch flagged down the couple’s camper van near Barrow Creek, on July 14 2001. He shot Mr Falconio and abducted Miss Lees, who later managed to escape, hiding in the bush for five hours before she was rescued. Mr Falconio’s body has never been found.

At sentencing, Chief Justice Brian Martin said that Murdoch had not shown any remorse during the trial. He said: “It is to be hoped, Mr Murdoch, that one day in the future while Mr Falconio’s parents are young enough and in sufficient health to find some peace, you will see your way clear to help them find their peace, by disclosing where you buried the body of their son.”

At the court, statements were read from Miss Lees and Mr Falconio’s mother, Joan.

In her statement, Miss Lees said she had been left “sceptical, untrusting, fearful and heartbroken” since the attack. She said: “On the night this crime was committed, I thought I was going to be raped and murdered. I thought I would never see my family again.”

Referring to Mr Falconio, Miss Lees said: “He was the person who I knew the best and loved the most. He was the one I would travel the world with and shared other experiences with.

“Pete was in the prime of his life. I never imagined not being with him and not sharing my life with him.”

In her statement, Joan Falconio said that she had wanted to die “many times” since Peter’s murder and had lived in constant physical and mental pain.


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