A TV reality show in Australia in which psychics hunted for the body of murdered Huddersfield backpacker Peter Falconio was condemned today.
The stunt was one of several broadcast on The One – a show which challenged psychics to showcase their talents.
But the move is certain to cause upset for the family of Mr Falconio, who vanished when he and his girlfriend, Joanne Lees, were ambushed on a desert highway.
And the family’s MP, Colne Valley’s Kali Mountford, described the TV plan as “horrible”.
“What a horrible thing to see. How can anyone get enjoyment from something as awful as this?”
The attack happened near Barrow Creek, about 200 miles north of Alice Springs, on July 14, 2001.
The young couple, who met at former Huddersfield nightclub Johnnys, had been driving along a remote stretch of the Stuart highway in an orange campervan when mechanic Bradley John Murdoch flagged them down, saying smoke was coming from the vehicle.
A trial heard how Murdoch shot 28-year-old Mr Falconio dead before threatening Ms Lees with a gun and tying her up. She managed to escape and hide in the bush for more than five hours. Mr Falconio’s body was never found.
The former student was from Hepworth.
Miss Lees later returned to live in Huddersfield and is now a student.
The TV show, screened last night Down Under, saw the psychics take up the challenge to find the remains of the murder victim.
About 15 production members of Channel Seven's upcoming series, The One, arrived at the Ti-Tree Roadhouse, 200km north of Alice Springs, last month.
The crew included a group of five psychics determined to connect with the “spirit” of Mr Falconio.
Roadhouse employee Geoff Grant, 43, said they flew in and out of Barrow Creek by helicopter during their three-day stay.
“They were having seances out there,” he said. “The lady I spoke to was a psychic. She said they were trying to contact him.
“They believed the site where the Kombi campervan was found was where the abduction occurred.”
Channel Seven confirmed the crew was in the Territory filming for The One.
The new television show, hosted by Andrew Daddo, challenged seven psychics to showcase their skills and abilities.
But Mr Grant said the psychic team was unsuccessful in solving the puzzle.
“They were going all day and not coming back before eight o’clock at night,” he said.
“They said he's wandering out there with the Aboriginal spirits.
“I find it difficult to speak to people like that. I’m a bit of a sceptic.”
Ms Mountford said: “For a long time, the Falconio family kept the hope that Peter was alive, and it was difficult to accept he was dead.
“Some reality shows are worthwhile and show people having a laugh, but there is nothing funny about such a personal, terrible tragedy.”