Fresh appeal for info on murdered Brit backpacker Peter Falconio 20 years on

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Police have renewed an appeal for information to find the body of a murdered British backpacker 20 years after his disappearance.

Peter Falconio was travelling around Australia with his girlfriend Joanne Lees when the pair were ambushed in the outback on July 14, 2001.

Bradley Murdoch was convicted of murdering Mr Falconio, 28, in 2005, but Ms Lees somehow managed to escape his clutches when the killer was distracted and hid in the bush before she found someone to raise the alarm.

Murdoch has refused to tell police where he hid the body and has continued to protest his innocence in a case that shocked the world.

The body of Mr Falconio, who was killed near Barrow Creek, about 200 miles north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, has never been found despite extensive searches.

Now Northern Territory Police are using the landmark anniversary to appeal for information as the authorities said the missing person's case remains open.

Detective senior sergeant Karl Day said: "Police are urging anyone out there, with any information that may assist Peter's family in gaining some sort of closure, to come forward and contact police.

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"We are thinking of Peter's family and friends on this anniversary and remain hopeful that such a milestone may jolt some information and progress the investigation."

Ms Lees returned to the outback for the first time in 15 years in February 2017 in the desperate hope of finally finding her lover's body.

She said she wanted to "bring him home" as she returned to the scene of the harrowing shooting for an Australian television show special.

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Ms Lees, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, fought back tears as she added: "It's because I love Pete so much and I want to bring him home and I need to bring him home."

The murder of Mr Falconio and assault of Ms Lees is one of Australia's most high-profile criminal cases in recent decades.

Mr Falconio's body is believed to have been hidden somewhere in the vast outback by Murdoch, which covers 70% of Australia.

The pair were ambushed while driving on a remote stretch of road in the outback on the final leg of a backpacking trip that had seen them visit Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia before travelling to Australia.

Murdoch was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 28 years. He will be 74 by the time he is eligible for parole in 2032.

He was always denied his involvement in the crime and has launched several unsuccessful appeals against his sentence and conviction.

Mr Falconio's remains would now be skeletal if they are ever found.

  • Shooting
  • Missing Person
  • Murder

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