Two decades after one of Australia’s most notorious outback murders, police are still searching for the body of missing British backpacker Peter Falconio.
Northern Territory police remain hopeful they’ll one day provide closure to the then 28-year-old’s family, with investigators urging anyone with information to come forward.
It comes amid renewed calls for the man convicted of Mr Falconio’s murder, Bradley John Murdoch, to reveal where he dumped the body.
Mr Falconio was driving with his girlfriend Joanne Lees along the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs on July 14, 2001, when Murdoch drove up behind them.
He indicated for them to pull over, saying their van might have an engine problem.
Mr Falconio went behind the car with Murdoch to investigate, and Ms Lees heard a gunshot, before Murdoch cable-tied her and covered her head.
She escaped and hid in bushland for five hours while Murdoch hunted her with his dog before she managed to flag down a truck driver.
Mr Falconio’s body has never been found.
Murdoch is serving a life sentence with a 28-year non-parole period. He has refused to tell detectives where Mr Falconio’s body is.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner says the murder was a callous and sickening act of violence.
“The murder of Peter Falconio was a deeply disturbing and traumatic event that had a profound effect on many people,” he said on Wednesday.
“Not the least being Mr Falconio’s family and his girlfriend at the time, Joanne Lees.
He said it was “some comfort” that Murdoch was apprehended and jailed, and will not menace the public again.
“Murdoch has never shown remorse for his crime. It would be fitting for him to show some decency and reveal Mr Falconio’s whereabouts for the sake of those who loved him,” he said.
NT Detective Senior Sergeant Karl Day hopes the milestone leads to someone coming forward with fresh information so the missing person investigation can be solved.
“On this 20th anniversary of the tragic disappearance of Peter Falconio the NT Police would like to take the opportunity remind everyone that the missing person investigation into Peter remains an open and active case,’ he said.
“Police are urging anyone out there, with any information that may assist Peter’s family in gaining some sort closure, to come forward and contact police.”