The latest true crime documentary to grip the nation, Murder in the Outback, delves deeper into what happened to Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees in the Australian outback in 2001.
The four-part documentary looks at what happened that night as well as afterwards – including Bradley Murdoch’s involvement and conviction. We look at who he is and where he is now.
What did Bradley Murdoch do?
The couple was travelling together, driving through a remote part of the Northern Territory, near Barrow Creek when they spotted another vehicle signalling to them to pull over.
Peter parked up their camper van before getting out to see what the man needed. The man said he’d seen sparks flying from the camper van.
As Joanne Lees moved to check the engine she said she heard a bang – a gunshot – and next thing she knew the man had pulled the gun on her.
Lees told police she had her hands tied together by the man who shoved her in his vehicle, but she managed to break the cable ties and escape.
She hid in the brush and hours later a truck drove by which she flagged down for help.
How was Bradley Murdoch arrested?
Police, at first, struggled to find the man or Peter’s body then sixteen months later Bradley Murdoch was arrested after they discovered DNA – a small piece – on the t-shirt Joanne Lees had been wearing. Peter’s body has never been found.
In 2003, Murdoch was charged with seven counts of abduction and rape. He was acquitted but it was the case that led to the Falconio case going to trial.
As Murdoch was found not guilty and told to leave the court police descended to arrest him for the murder of Peter Falconio.
The judge had to remind the officers that it was, in fact, illegal to arrest someone in a court so the police dragged him backwards shuffling him to the street where he could be arrested.
As Murdoch was driven away he clearly shook his head annoyed at what had transpired.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005 for the murder of Peter Falconio and assaulting and attempting to kidnap Joanne.
Who is Bradley Murdoch?
Murdoch was born in 1958 in Geraldton, Western Australia. He lived in Northampton then Perth where, according to Murder in the Outback, he joined a biker gang aged just 15.
Murdoch’s drug smuggling is well documented in the documentary. He served 15 months for shooting at crowds during the Australian rules football match in 1995.
Where is Bradley Murdoch now?
Murdoch had several convictions before the 2001 case. He had been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving as well as shooting drunkenly at people during an Aussie rules football game.
In 2003 he faced seven counts of abduction and rape, which he was acquited of.
Then in 2005 he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with a non parole period of 28 years. Murdoch is still alive serving his sentence in prison at Darwin Correctional Centre.
Murdoch has made two appeals against his conviction – both have been unsuccessful.
He will eligible for parole in 2032 – he’ll be 74 years old. He’s always protested his innocence.
Murdoch spends his time in the kitchen as a pastry chef – apparently, he’s known for his desserts.
Is Bradley Murdoch ill?
In 2019 Australian newspapers revealed that Murdoch was being treated for cancer.
The news triggered police attempting to elicit a confession in exchange for moving him to a prison closer to his family.
Murdoch reportedly refused treatment for the disease but later changed his mind and began receiving treatment at Royal Darwin Hospital.
The exchange the police proposed was hinged on finding out where Peter Falconio’s body was buried. The Northern Territory government passed a ‘no body no parole law’ in 2016.
So even if Murdoch tries for parole unless he reveals the location of Peter’s body his application will be denied.
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