Bradley John Murdoch

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Bradley John Murdoch
Bradley John Murdoch
Born (1958-02-19) 19 February 1958 (age 58)
Northampton, Western Australia, Australia
Occupation Mechanic
Truck driver
Criminal penalty Life imprisonment
28 years non-parole period
Conviction(s) Murder
Deprivation of liberty
Aggravated unlawful assault

Bradley John Murdoch (born 19 February 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 in 2032. Murdoch is being held in Darwin Correctional Centre in Darwin, Northern Territory.[1] He has lodged two appeals against his conviction; both were unsuccessful. The High Court of Australia refused special leave to appeal on 21 June 2007. He is forbidden to talk to the press.[2]

Early life[edit]

Murdoch had previously lived in Broome, Western Australia and worked as a truck driver and mechanic. He also admitted in court to smuggling large amounts of cannabis.[3]

Previous arrests and convictions[edit]

  • In 1980, aged 21, Murdoch received a suspended sentence after being convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • In 2003, he was charged with seven counts of abduction and rape. He was acquitted of these charges.[6]

Peter Falconio murder[edit]

Main article: Peter Falconio

Shortly after his acquittal for unrelated rape and abduction charges, 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.[7]

The case of the Queen vs Bradley John Murdoch was heard before the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in Darwin. The judge was Brian Ross Martin QC, Chief Justice of the Northern Territory.[8]

The trial began on 17 October 2005. Murdoch pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering Falconio and assaulting and attempting to kidnap his girlfriend Joanne Lees.[9]

A sample of his DNA was found on Joanne Lees' T-shirt and was shown to be "150 quadrillion times more likely [to] belong to Murdoch" than anyone else.[2]

Eyewitnesses claimed they had seen Falconio at a petrol station, a week after he went missing. Prosecutor Rex Wild, QC, dismissed these claims, arguing that each account gave conflicting information, in particular there were inconsistencies about the man's hair colour. He pointed out that the police had followed up various eye witness accounts, all of which had proven fruitless.[10]

Murdoch was convicted on 13 December 2005 for Falconio's murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 28 years. Murdoch was also convicted of other assault-related charges on Joanne Lees.[11]

Falconio's body has never been found "despite one of the most exhaustive police investigations ever seen in Australia".[3] However the police found traces of his DNA on a pair of homemade handcuffs that Murdoch had used in the attack.[12]


On 12 December 2006, Murdoch appealed against his life sentence in the Supreme Court. His lawyers lodged eight grounds of appeal. Murdoch claimed the evidence of Lees was tainted because she had seen a photograph of him on the internet before she was interviewed by police, as well as an article linking him to the murder.[13]

The appeal was dismissed on 10 January 2007.[14] An appeal to the High Court was unsuccessful.

He launched an appeal to the Northern Territory criminal court of appeal in 2013.[15]

Location of Peter Falconio's body[edit]

The location of Peter Falconio's body remains a mystery. However, in mid-August 2007, some sections of the Australian media speculated that Murdoch might soon reveal the whereabouts of Falconio's remains. Specifically, the press mentioned that Murdoch did not enjoy the conditions of the Berrimah Prison, on the outskirts of Darwin and might reveal the location of Falconio's body in exchange for a transfer to a prison in Western Australia, given that all avenues of appeal had been exhausted.[16]


Author Dr Keith Allan Noble, insists Murdoch is innocent and offers a reward of £25,000 to anyone who can prove that Falconio is still alive.[17] His book Find! Falconio outlines what he describes as "the show trial in which the jury was lied to and pressure-cooked resulting in a shocking miscarriage of justice".[18]


  1. ^ Falconi murderer moved to Alice Springs Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 August 2007
  2. ^ a b "An insight into Bradley John Murdoch's mind - the killer of Peter Falconio". April 10, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Mercer, Phil (May 9, 2014). "Bradley Murdoch takes the stand". Retrieved November 30, 2005. 
  4. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (December 15, 2005). "Massive search for Falconio remains". The Age. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay (December 16, 2005). "28-year minimum sentence for Outback killing". The Age. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Murdoch gets life for backpacker murder". The Scotsman. December 14, 2005. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Falconio detectives swoop on trucker". The Scotsman. November 10, 2003. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  8. ^ "NT Chief Justice Martin retires". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 28, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Outback murder trial begins". The Sydney Morning Herald. October 17, 2005. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Murdoch, Lindsay. "QC says Murdoch a cunning killer". Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Timeline in the disappearance of Peter Falconio". The Australian. January 10, 2007. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  12. ^ Mercer, Phil (December 13, 2005). "Outback killer trapped by DNA link". Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ Evidence questioned in Murdoch appeal Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 12 December 2006
  14. ^ Falconio killer loses appeal, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10 January 2007.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Will outback's big murder secret be revealed? - National -
  17. ^ "Author who offered £25,000 reward for evidence that Peter Falconio was alive answers his critics". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  18. ^

External links[edit]