THE girlfriend of murdered Huddersfield backpacker Peter Falconio has told authorities to destroy an ageing camper van bought by the couple during their trip round Australia.
Joanne Lees, 34, also from Huddersfield, has instructed Northern Territory Police to dispose of the orange Volkswagen Kombi van in which she and Mr Falconio were travelling when they were stopped by drug smuggler Bradley Murdoch on a remote Outback highway in July 2001.
The van provided key evidence in the 2006 trial of Murdoch, who was convicted of shooting dead Mr Falconio and trying to kidnap Miss Lees.
Mr Falconio, 28, bought the mechanically troubled van from a used-car yard in Sydney.
The pair were travelling near the outpost of Barrow Creek when Murdoch waved down their camper van and shot Mr Falconio in the head.
Murdoch then threatened Miss Lees with a gun, punched her in the head and bound her with cable-tie restraints before she managed to escape, hiding in bushes for hours while her attacker stalked her with a dog.
The van was discovered the following day hidden in roadside bushes near the murder scene and Murdoch’s DNA was found on the vehicle’s gear stick.
Police said the van has been moved to the Darwin police compound from the Northern Territory Supreme Court where it has been held as evidence.
A spokesman for the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services said: “As per the policy on the disposal of exhibits after a court case is completed, the owner, Ms Joanne Lees, has instructed Northern Territory Police to dispose of the vehicle.”
Last year Murdoch, who is serving at least 28 years behind bars, lost his final appeal against his conviction and life prison sentence.
But lawyers acting for Murdoch are hopeful of another appeal, because of doubts over the DNA techniques used to gather evidence.