October 5, 2022

The mother of missing British backpacker Peter Falconio has broken her long silence to beg for the location of her son’s body to be revealed on what would have been his 50th birthday.

The grieving mother’s plea has been backed by a call for Northern Territory police to offer a $1 million reward for the vital information.

Joan Falconio, 75, is still haunted by the loss of her son 21 years ago in the middle of the night on a remote stretch of road between Alice Springs and Darwin.

Peter and girlfriend Joanne Lees were in a motorhome when they were stopped by drug runner Bradley Murdoch, who shot Mr Falconio and tried to abduct Mrs Lees.

She managed to escape and hid in the bush for hours until she crashed a truck and raised the alarm – but no trace of her boyfriend’s body has ever been found.

Daily Mail Australia can reveal police drained an outback well in 2019 where Falconio’s body was feared dumped following a personal plea from his mother.

The mother of missing British backpacker Peter Falconio has broken her long silence to beg for the location of her son’s body to be revealed on what would have been his 50th birthday.

Peter and girlfriend Joanne Lees were in a motorhome when they were stopped by drug runner Bradley Murdoch, who shot Mr Falconio and tried to abduct Mrs Lees

But the five-day search proved fruitless.

“We want to bring Peter home where he belongs near his family,” Peter’s mother said Friday. ‘Our pain is always with us. He was murdered 21 years ago, only 28 years old.

‘His life stopped on a lonely road – the Stuart Highway on July 14th 2001. Shot dead by the cowardly Murdoch who won’t reveal where or what he did with him.’

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She added: ‘Peter has a beautiful niece and two lovely nephews who he never got to see or know.

‘I am appealing to anyone with a conscience to help me – however small – to tell me where he was put.’

Joan Falconio (pictured with Peter’s father Luciano) is still haunted by the loss of her son 21 years ago on a remote stretch of road between Alice Springs and Darwin

The grieving mother’s plea has been backed by a call for Northern Territory police to offer a $1 million reward for vital information about the whereabouts of her son’s body.

Ms Falconio and husband Luciano, 80, spoke out after reliving the tragedy on Peter’s 50th birthday on Tuesday, September 20.

Former girlfriend Joanne Lees, now 47, lives in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, in the UK, and is still in touch with Peter’s parents.

The pair were on a tour of Australia in 2001 when Murdoch pulled alongside and signaled them to stop, claiming flames were coming out the back of their van.

When Mr Falconio went around the back to inspect it with Murdoch, he was shot dead.

Murdoch then grabbed Ms Lees, tied her with cable ties and bundled her into the back of his womb.

Bradley Murdoch grabbed Joanne Lees, tied her with cable ties and bundled her into the back of his waist.

Joanne Lees managed to wriggle free as he disposed of Mr Falconio’s body and their van, and hid in the bush to avoid Murdoch’s dog as he searched for her

She managed to wriggle free as he disposed of Mr Falconio’s body and their van, and hid in the bush to avoid Murdoch’s dog while he searched for her.

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Murdoch eventually gave up and drove off with Mr Falconio’s body, before Ms Lees then flagged down a lorry and was taken to a nearby roadworks in Barrow Creek.

The police hunt for Mr Falconio and his killer then began 21 years ago and eventually led to the arrest of Mr Murdoch after DNA from Ms Lee’s t-shirt matched his.

He is now serving life in Darwin Correctional Center after being convicted of the murder – but has refused to give up where he dumped Mr Falconio’s body.

Bradley Murdoch is believed to have hidden the remains somewhere in the vast desert area between Alice Springs and Broome, 1,700km away in Western Australia

Bradley Murdoch is eligible for parole in 10 years – but won’t walk free without revealing location of Peter Falconio’s body under NT’s ‘no body no release’ laws

Murdoch is eligible for parole in 10 years – but will not walk free without disclosing the location under the NT’s ‘no body no release’ laws.

He is believed to have hidden the remains somewhere in the vast desert area between Alice Springs and Broome, 1,700km away in Western Australia.

Daily Mail Australia can reveal police scoured the outback well into 2019 where Mr Falconio’s body was feared dumped – but failed to find any trace of him.

Detectives were led to the scene about 1km from where Mr Falconio was shot after an eyewitness came forward to say he saw someone out there like Murdoch’s on the night of the attack.

A TV crew led by Today Tonight reporter Frank Pangallo – now a South Australian state politician for the SA BEST Party – first explored the site in 2014, but the well contained 15m of water and was inaccessible.

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But police returned to the scene in 2019 following a personal plea from Mr Falconio’s mother and carried out a full investigation… but turned up nothing.

“Mrs Falconio contacted me and asked if I could convince the NT Police to do a full search of the well to remove the track,” Mr Pangallo told Daily Mail Australia.

‘I then arranged a statement from the eyewitness, a lorry driver who had been contracted to the cattle station, and sent it to senior NT Police.

‘NT Police found him to be credible and drained the well in a five-day operation in 2019, but unfortunately found nothing.

‘It was the right thing for them to do and I can only praise their efforts.’

Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees were on a tour of Australia in 2001 when Murdoch pulled up with them, signaling them to withdraw before his fatal attack

South Australian politician Frank Pangallo is now demanding NT Police offer a $1 million reward to tempt anyone to come forward with the key information needed

Sir. Pangallo is now demanding NT Police offer a $1 million reward to tempt anyone to come forward with the key information needed.

“Murdoch does not have the courage to admit his cowardly crime and he should rot behind bars if he is not willing to tell the truth about what he did or where he left Peter that night,” he added.

“Someone must know where Peter is, or perhaps have some information or recollection that could be useful to the police, no matter how insignificant they may think it is.

“Joan, Luciano, Peter’s brothers – Mark, Nicholas and Paul – and their families deserve closure after all these years of grief and uncertainty.”