This week marks the 17th anniversary of the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio, who was shot and killed in the Australian outback on July 14, 2001, his body never to be found. It was a case that fascinated and horrified Australians right up until his convicted killer, Bradley John Murdoch, was jailed in 2005 for 28 years.
Now, the details of a mysterious letter have been revealed, which was penned by an anonymous author who claims to know the final resting place of 28-year-old Falconio. The letter’s author claims to have come about the information after an alleged accomplice of killer Murdoch confessed to helping dispose of the young tourist’s body.
The note was sent to Matt Williams, editor of The Northern Territory News, in April 2017 and the full text has just been revealed for the first time by the Daily Telegraph. In it, the writer alleges that Murdoch claimed Falconio’s murder was in self-defence and the Falconio’s remains had been buried in a “nice spot” near Geraldton in Western Australia.
“I read about the Falconio murder at the time but never connected it with anyone in WA,” the letter reads, “Then around 2 years later (redacted) asked to see me he wanted to talk to someone and was very troubled it was no act because he broke down and sobbed he’s heart out he wasn’t drunk or high on drugs so I know he was genuine.
“This is what he told me as best as I can remember. Murdoch phoned him and ordered him to fly to Darwin at once hire a car and meet him in the outback. When they met he told (redacted) that he had murdered a guy in self defence at the time (redacted) had no idea who the victim was.
“He ordered (redacted) to drive to Adelaide leave the car and fly back to Perth. (Redacted) told me he couldn’t even open the bags he was sick and petrified, when he got to Adelaide he didn’t fly but got the Indian Pacific back to Perth, thinking that the 2 large bags would draw less attention on the train.
“He and Murdoch had connections with Geraldton and Broome they were always going up there to unload or buy stolen goods and drugs. So (redacted) knew northern WA very well. He told me he went way past Geraldton and buried both the bags unopened in a nice spot and even made up a cross.
“Later he realised who he had buried and was in a bad way about it. He knew I had a sister who worked in law, and asked what I thought he would get if he went to the police. I told him I thought about 5 years for assisting Murdoch. This terrified him. But I did tell him better to go to the police now before Murdock decides to tell the whole story. After that I lost touch with him and never heard from him again.”
Falconio, from Yorkshire in England, was travelling around Australia with his girlfriend Joanne Lees, then 28, when he was murdered by Murdoch. Lees later testified that the couple were driving along Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory when they noticed another vehicle following them.
The driver flagged down their orange Kombi van, telling the pair that he had seen sparks coming from their exhaust pipe. It was when Falconio got out to check for potential damage that Murdoch shot and killed him, then tied Lees up and dragged her to his own vehicle.
Lees later managed to escape into the bush where she hid before flagging down a trucker who took her to the nearby town of Barrow Creek and called the police.
WA-native Murdoch, now 60, was sentenced to a 28-year non-parole period in 2005 for killing the English backpacker and attacking Lees and is currently detained in the Darwin Correctional Centre. However the whereabouts of Falconio’s remains is still unknown, with police reportedly claiming that nothing came of the letter from the anonymous informant.