Channel 4’s re-investigation of the disappearance of British backpacker Peter Falconio in the Australian outback began last night. And Murder in the Outback has already got people talking.
The four-part documentary takes a detailed look at the evidence in the 2001 case that made headlines all around the world, after Peter’s girlfriend Joanne Lees escaped the attacker and managed to get to safety thanks to a passing truck.
In last night’s opening episode, we heard shocking new details that shed new light on the murder, which was deemed solved with the conviction of Bradley John Murdoch in 2005. He is currently serving a life sentence after Lees identified him from a line-up of pictures, and his DNA matched a sample from the T-shirt she was wearing that night.
The biggest revelation came from truck driver Vince Millar, who revealed evidence that changes the entire case. He explained that shortly before Lees flagged down his van he noticed odd behaviour on the road ahead, with a car circling its headlines on a usually deserted stretch.
“All of a sudden there was this little red car that pulled up on the side of the road,” he explained to Murdoch’s defence lawyer, Andrew Fraser, who was reinvestigating the case.
“I got out of my truck thinking they were broken down and I saw there was a man that looked like jelly in between two other men. Then they took off. Once I pulled up they were out of there. The way they got in that car and took off there was something they didn’t want me to see. That bloke in the middle very well could have been Peter Falconio.”
He also explained to the documentary makers how he is still haunted by that fateful night. “I wish I was never ever any part of it. I was heading home and the boss turned me round and sent me back to Darwin, which put me on that spot at that time on that day, I should have been at home in bed.”
As Fraser points out, the red car has never been properly investigated. Who was driving it? Was Peter Falconio the man described as looking “like jelly”? And if so, how does that sequence of events match up with Joanne’s account?
With three more episodes to go in this documentary there are bound to be lots more questions to come before we get any answers…is the right person behind bars?
Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery continues tonight on Channel 4 at 9.15pm. To find out what else is on tonight, check out our TV Guide.