Backpacker attack victim Joanne Lees returns to the desert 15 years after boyfriend Peter Falconio was shot dead there

‘We thought we had the rest of our lives together.’
Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees
Peter Falconio and partner Joanne Lees.

15 years after escaping the clutches of a hitchhiker who had shot her boyfriend dead in central Australia, Joanne Lees has returned to the place of the traumatic attack.

In 2001, British tourist Lees, then 27, and her boyfriend Peter Falconio, 28, were driving across Australia’s red centre when tragedy struck.

A man on the side of the road waved at their VW van as it approached. Falconio and Lees slowed down and kindly introduced themselves to the man, Bradley Murdoch.

The kombi van impounded as evidence
The VW van was impounded as evidence. (Credit: Getty)

In a horrifying twist of events, Murdoch shot Falconio dead before handcuffing Lees and dragging her into his car.

She was able to escape the horrifying ordeal, and hid for five hours alone in the desert scrub – her Australian adventure had become her worst nightmare.

Bradley John Murdoch
Bradley Murdoch (Credit: Getty)

Speaking to Channel 9’s 60 Minutes in an upcoming interview, Lees, 43, describes the shock they experienced when Murdoch turned on them.

‘We had no idea what was going to happen. We thought we had the rest of our lives together,’ she says.

‘Pete got out of the Kombi… Who would expect it to be a gunman? Horror movies have been made about some of the events that happened to me.’

Joanne Lees, 27, and Peter Falconio, 28, in their van. (Credit: Getty)

Peter Falconio’s body was never found following the attack, despite police searches which did manage to locate a large pool of blood.

Murdoch has maintained his innocent plea, and says he cannot help locate Falconio’s body because he was never there.

DNA evidence did identify Lee’s blood on Murdoch’s shirt, however, linking Murdoch with the crime scene.

In 2006 Murdoch was convicted of murder, and is serving a life prison sentence in the Northern Territory.

Via Daily Mail

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