Bradley John Murdoch : biography
Bradley John Murdoch (born 1958) is serving life imprisonment for the July 2001 murder of English backpacker Peter Falconio in Australia. He will be 74 when eligible for parole. Murdoch is being held in Alice Springs Correctional Centre Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 August 2007 in Alice Springs. He has lodged two appeals against his conviction; both were unsuccessful. The High Court refused special leave to appeal on 21 June 2007.
Previous arrests and convictions
- In 1980, aged 21, Murdoch received a suspended sentence after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
- In 1995, Murdoch served 15 months imprisonment for shooting at people who were celebrating at an Australian rules football match in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia.
- He was arrested in South Australia during August 2002 and was charged with various offences, one of which was a rape offence involving a 12 year old girl and her mother, for which he was acquitted.
Murdoch is a self-confessed drifter, drug runner, and regularly transported large amounts of cannabis between Alice Springs and Broome in Western Australia.
On 12 December 2006, Murdoch appealed against his life sentence in the Supreme Court where his lawyers lodged eight grounds of appeal. Murdoch claims the evidence of Lees was tainted because she had seen a photograph of Murdoch on the internet before she was interviewed by police, and an article linking Murdoch to the murder. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 12 December 2006
The appeal was dismissed on 10 January 2007., Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 January 2007. An appeal to the High Court of Australia was unsuccessful.
Peter Falconio murder
Murdoch was arrested in 2003 and charged with the murder of Peter Falconio on a remote part of the Stuart Highway near Barrow Creek on 14 July 2001.
The Queen vs Bradley John Murdoch case went before the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in Darwin. The judge was Brian Ross Martin QC, Chief Justice of the Northern Territory.
Committal hearings were heard in December 2004, with a voir dire in April 2005, in which some prosecution evidence was removed (most notably, the cable ties which were contaminated with DNA from the director of forensics).
The trial proper began on 18 October 2005. Early estimates had suggested that the trial would last from 6–8 weeks, ending in early-mid December 2005. The jury was out on 13 December 2005, and returned with a verdict of guilty on the same day after 8 hours of deliberations.
Murdoch was also convicted of other assault-related charges on Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 28 years.
Falconio's body has never been found.
Murdoch has maintained his innocence to this day. During his trial defence lawyers claimed that police procedures were not followed correctly, that Joanne Lees' testimony was inconsistent, and that it was impossible for him to have committed the crime. Lees incorrectly identified the details of the vehicle Murdoch was driving. Lees also admitted seeing an internet photograph and article linking Murdoch to the murder before she was interviewed by police. At a pre-trial hearing the defence determined that Lees had been having an affair, even though she denied this until confronted with evidence. There are many other contradicting details given by Lees detailed in books written by three independent writers each questioning Lees's credibility. On 9 October 2006, Lees was interviewed on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 by John Humphrys. He proceeded to attack Lees for cashing in on the tragedy. Lees has reportedly been paid for an interview with Martin Bashir and advance for a book titled "No Turning Back". Lees admitted to use of ecstasy and marijuana, and to having sex with another man, Nick Riley, without Peter Falconio's knowledge, in Sydney during their trip through Australia. Despite the defence's arguments, the evidence against him, most notably the presence of his blood on Lees's clothes, was enough to prove Murdoch was the killer. The daughter of chief justice Brian Martin, who presided over the trial, is a good friend of Joanne Lees and became intimate with one of the jurors of Murdoch's trial and gave birth to his child, as admitted by the Chief Justice in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
Location of Peter Falconio's body
The location of Peter Falconio's body remains a mystery. However, in mid August 2007, some sections of the Australian Media speculated that Murdoch may soon reveal the whereabouts of Falconio's remains. Specifically, the Australian press mentioned that he does not enjoy the conditions of the Berrimah Prison, on the outskirts of Darwin, Australia and may reveal the location of Falconio's body in exchange for a transfer to a prison in Western Australia, now that all avenues of appeal for Murdoch have been exhausted.
Murdoch had previously lived in Broome, Western Australia and worked as a truck driver and mechanic.
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