Police investigate letter claiming Peter Falconio’s body was dismembered and hidden in trash bags in the Outback

The anonymous letter was sent to a Northern Territory news outlet.
Joanne Lees, 27, and Peter Falconio, 28, in their van.

Police are investigating a letter received by a Northern Territory newspaper that holds clues to the fate of backpacker murder victim’s remains.

In July 2001, British backpacker Peter Falconio was driving in a VW van with his girlfriend, Joanne Lees, when they were flagged down my Bradley John Murdoch. Murdoch then murdered Falconio, and attempted to abduct Lees who managed to escape and alert police. 

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

An anonymous letter was sent to the NT Times claiming that after the murder Murdoch rang a criminal associate to come help him dispose of Falconio’s body.

‘Murdoch had cut the body up and put it in two large … bags that were watertight and smell proof. He told (the associate) to go straight back to Perth and dissolve the body parts in acid and put what was left in (Perth’s) Swan River,’ the letter read.

‘(The associate) 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.’

Bradley John Murdoch
Bradley John Murdoch was convicted of the murder of Peter Falconio. (Credit: Getty)

The letter was apparently sent by an expat Australian who currently lives in London.

Falconio is believed to have died from a gunshot wound after he pulled his van over and went around the back where Murdoch was claiming he had witness an engine problem with their van.

Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees
Peter Falconio and partner Joanne Lees. (Credit: Getty)

Believing her boyfriend to still be alive, Joanne Lees was handcuffed by Murdoch who dragged her from the van into his car. She hid from Murdoch in the Outback scrub for five hours. She eventually managed to flag down a truck driver who took her to the Barrow Creek Hotel where she called police.

RELATED: Joanne Lees returns to the Outback years after her boyfriend’s murder

Bradley John Murdoch was convicted of the murder of Peter Falconio, and abuse of Joanne Lees in 2005, four years after the incident. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison, and will be eligible for parole in 2032, aged 74. He has lodged several appeals for early release, none of which have been successful.

Peter Falconio’s body has never been found.

Related stories