news

Anonymous letter names accomplice who buried body in notorious Falconio murder case

Police call sensational new claims "bizarre"

Police in Australia are keeping an open mind over sensational new claims that the body of murder victim Peter Falconio was cut up and dumped miles from where he disappeared.

The details have emerged in an anonymous letter, received by a TV news channel and allegedly sent by an ex-pat Australian living in London. It is believed to name a criminal associate of Bradley John Murdoch, the drifter who was jailed in 2005 for Mr Falconio’s murder.

Mr Falconio and his girlfriend Joanne Lees were travelling in a camper van on Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs in July 2001 when Murdoch flagged them down. Mr Falconio, 28, of Hepworth, was shot before Murdoch cable-tied Ms Lees and dragged her into his vehicle. Ms Lees, who was 27 at the time, fought her attacker before fleeing and hiding in the bush for several hours.

Mr Falconio vanished. Despite extensive searches his body has never been found.

It is understood that the letter, sent to NT News in Darwin, alleges that Murdoch cut up Mr Falconio’s body into pieces and placed it in two holdall-type bags. They were taken to Adelaide and onward to Perth by train before the remains were buried around Geraldton in Western Australia.

Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees on their holiday in Australia

Police in Australia’s Northern Territory say the claims are both baffling and bizarre. One former officer who served as an investigator on the case said it was unusual for an alleged accomplice to be named and questioned why the informant had gone to the media and not the police.

The letter writer said Murdoch called an associate and told him to meet him in the outback because he needed help to dispose of a body.

“When they met, Murdoch told [the associate] that he had murdered a guy in self-defence. At the time, [the associate] had no idea who the victim was,” the letter said.

“Murdoch had cut the body up and put it in two large bags that were watertight and smell proof.”

Drifter Bradley Murdoch withdrew his appeal for killing Huddersfield backpacker Peter Falconio in Australia(Image: UGC HDE)

The letter said Murdoch ordered the associate to drive to Adelaide and fly to Perth, but he decided to take the train instead thinking the bags would attract less attention.

“[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,” the letter said.

“Later he realised who he had buried and was in a bad way about it.”

View full mobile page