A REWARD offered for evidence that murder victim Peter Falconio is alive was last night condemned as “offensive”.
An author has put up the money saying he is convinced the Huddersfield backpacker did not die in the Australian Outback.
But the Mayor of Alice Springs, the Australian town close to where Mr Falconio vanished, reacted angrily to the offer by Keith Alan Noble.
Damien Ryan labelled it “a cheap stunt”.
The news will also be upsetting for Mr Falconio’s parents, who live in Huddersfield, and his former girlfriend Joanne Lees, who returned to the town after the couple’s Australian adventure ended in terror.
Mr Falconio, 28, of Hepworth, vanished in the Outback in 2001 while touring the country in a camper van with Miss Lees, 27, of Almondbury.
His body was never found but drifter Bradley Murdoch was caught and convicted of his murder in 2005.
Now author Keith Allan Noble is offering a £25,000 reward for information on Mr Falconio’s whereabouts.
Mr Ryan said: “To put out a reward like this... it doesn’t seem to be very sincere”.
He called posters advertising Mr Noble’s reward, which had been put up in Alice Springs, “a cheap stunt”.
And the Mayor added: “For the family and the people involved in the whole case it’s pretty offensive.
“A trial has been held, a person has been found guilty. Sadly the problem hasn’t been solved for the family involved”.
Mr Falconio, who worked in Kent and was from Huddersfield, was ambushed with his girlfriend while they were driving along the remote Stuart Highway through the Outback between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek in northern Australia.
Ms Lees told police she was bound, gagged and bundled into a pick-up before she escaped. She hid in the bush for hours before flagging down a lorry driver to help her.
Mr Falconio’s body was never found.
Mr Noble, who believes Mr Falconio is alive, created a poster advertising the reward.
He said: “It's not publicity. I’m not interested in the book per se, I’m interested in us finding Falconio”.
Mr Noble, who lives in Austria, said he had written five letters to the Falconio family asking them for a response to his claim, but he has not yet had a reply.
Murdoch has always protested his innocence and insists he had nothing to do with Mr Falconio.
Ever since his trail, he has refused to co-operate with authorities who are anxious for details of where Mr Falconio’s body was left.
Noble says in his book there is no evidence that Murdoch killed the tourist and buried his body in the outback.
He also says fresh evidence and witnesses have turned up since the trial.