Wednesday, October 19, 2005

No Murder Weapon, No Body, No Place or Time of Death

NT: Joanne Lees ought to be the main suspect in this show trial. There is no body and no weapon to be found and Joanne Lees had a clear and present motive. She knew him, she travelled with him, she was unfaithful to him and she said that she was the last person to see him on the night she was stoned out of her head. So where does Bradley James Murdoch fit in?

Simple, police decided she was the victim and went about making sure someone else did it when all accounts should point to Joanne Lees who was unfaithful to her boyfriend Peter Falconio and stoned off her head on the night she said she had been attacked.

JOANNE Lees would identify Bradley James Murdoch or anyone else who was profiled to fit the crime. She has a very good reason to do so otherwise she would look very guilty indeed.

The 32-year-old wept as she told a jury she believed she would die after her attacker bound her and forced her into his vehicle on a lonely stretch of the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory in 2001.

No one else was there and this is her story believe it or not. She was quite capable of inventing an attacker and binding her own hands to make it look like there had been an attack but there was and adventure a misadventure. Tears can be manipulated and manufactured. She was entwined in the relationship maybe Peter would not let her out?

If you asked a killer who has no remorse whether someone else did the killing what answer do you think you're going to get?

During a dramatic day of evidence, prosecutor Rex Wild, QC, asked Ms Lees if she got a good view of the man as he held a western-style silver revolver to her head.

[The weapon that can't be found.]

"Yes," she replied.

"Do you see that man here today?" asked Mr Wild, the Northern Territory's Director of Public Prosecutions.

"Yes, I'm looking at him now," she replied in a loud voice, staring directly to where Murdoch sat in the dock of the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

[But she'd never seen him before the trial? And wasn't prompted.]

Murdoch looked back and shook his head.

Ms Lees responded by nodding vigorously.

[Intimating that she was guilty but had no other choice.]

She also appeared to mouth some words as she nodded back at Murdoch, but they were not audible.

[Sorry...I am Sorry...Please forgive me...?]

Ms Lees was giving testimony on the second day of the trial into the alleged murder of her boyfriend, Mr Falconio, who has not been seen since that night in July 2001.

Lees, who was stoned out of her brain on dope and who'd had a recent affair had a better motive for the killing and could easily have committed the crime herself. So why wasn't she the main suspect?

Bradley Murdoch, 47, has pleaded not guilty to murder, and to the unlawful assault and deprivation of liberty of Ms Lees.

Lees has accused Bradley John Murdoch of Peter Falconio death but until the alleged strong DNA evidence appeared late in the police investigation there was probably no case at all.

DNA results that just happened to appear now place Bradley John Murdoch at the crime scene and no doubt have helped the police case against the accused.

Back in April 2005, Murdoch's defence team was furious at the new DNA evidence. Claiming his client had been ambushed by the prosecution, Ian Baker, QC, made an application to have the hearing stopped and the trial date, put back to allow his side to have its own DNA tests done on the cable ties.

Commenting on the new development, the judge, Brian Martin, told the Northern Territory Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Tony Elliot: "The evidence you propose to lead, if accepted by the jury, would inevitably place the accused not only at the scene, but having used the ties used to tie up Miss Lees. It is critical." ?

Dr Whitaker's world-first DNA testing technique [?] has allegedly identified fragments of DNA belonging to Murdoch at the crime scene?

But earlier results of tests on mixed DNA on the gearstick and steering wheel were so poor that they were inadmissible in court. [?]

Ms Lees, who said she still bore scars from that night, said a man pulled up beside the couple as they drove their Kombi north from Alice Springs.

But she's the only witness to that and she was also quite capable of making it appear that she had been tied up and grazed.

If it were the case that she was bound then it would have been highly unlikely that she would have survived to tell the story.

Of course a murderer is not capable of making up a story to make it look like she suffered a misadventure by binding here own hands and leaving marks for all to see?

When he signaled for the couple to pull over, Ms Lees said she urged Mr Falconio not to stop.

[Sure, where in the middle of nowhere in the dark and she intimates they should stop? A street wise pom? Bullshit!]

She said, he did stop, however, and went to the back of the vehicle to talk to the man about sparks he had seen coming from the exhaust.

"Cheers mate, thanks for stopping," she heard Mr Falconio telling the man.

As she was revving the engine for Mr Falconio, she said she heard a bang which sounded like a car backfiring.

Apparantly it wasn't until the stranger appeared at her car window with a silver revolver that she realised the sound may have been a gunshot.

[Maybe it was the Lone Ranger?]

Ms Lees said she struggled as the gunman bound her hands behind her back, forced her from the Kombi and tried unsuccessfully to tie her legs with tape as he straddled her on the ground.

So he managed to bind her hands but he could not manage to bind her feet, the easy part?

He did not rape her or shoot her in the head but apparently he had no trouble with Peter Falconio?

"He punched me in the right temple, it stunned me," she said.

"I was then screaming for Pete to come and help me."

She said the man led her towards his vehicle and tried unsuccessfully to put tape around her mouth.

She also managed to shake off a canvas sack he put over her head.

He pushed her into the passenger's side of his vehicle and then into its rear tray area.

"I asked him why he was doing this, did he want money, did he want to rape me," Ms Lees said.

"He came back and told me to shut up or he would shoot me."

Asked today what was going through her mind during the attack, Ms Lees wept and said:" I felt alone.

And that just about sums it up because she was alone and has to prove otherwise, surely?

"I kept shouting for Pete. I thought I was going to die."

But the man who had her tied up couldn't find her? Or manage to bind her legs, rape her or even shoot her? But he managed to take care of Peter. Maybe he was gay? Or just plain clumsy?

Then the man moved away from his vehicle and she seized the moment to escape, she said, shuffling her legs over the rear of an unsecured canopy onto the ground with her hands still bound behind her back.

[And he could not see her in the middle of nowhere? Neither could he hear her?]

"Then I just ran," Ms Lees whispered, recounting how she curled up and hid under bushes.

Ms Lees said she heard the crunch of the man's footsteps as she hid.

"I didn't speak - I was trying not to breathe even," she said.

She heard the man drive a vehicle away, and later again heard the crunch of gravel and the man dragging something.

"I thought it could be Pete," she said.

The court has heard Ms Lees hid under the bush for five hours, before running out onto the road, still bound, and flagged down a passing road train.

[And the man ran away with the bone!]

The trial continues.

By Amanda Mortein 19 October 05


Falconio suspect to be extradited

It was only after Murdoch was arrested in SA on sex charges that police, citing DNA evidence, alleged he was linked to the Falconio case.

To avoid further delays in having the murder case heard, Mr Prescott dismissed charges against Murdoch regarding firearms offences that were currently before the Adelaide court.

Bradley John Murdoch will face a court in Darwin tomorrow, charged for the first time over the murder of British tourist Peter Falconio.

An Adelaide magistrate today ordered Murdoch, 45, to be extradited to the Northern Territory where he will be formally charged with murdering Mr Falconio and attempting to abduct Mr Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees.

Murdoch's extradition follows his acquittal earlier this week on unrelated sex charges and his immediate rearrest.

Handcuffed and flanked by prison officers and Adelaide Magistrates Court staff, Murdoch showed no expression as Chief Magistrate Kelvyn Prescott dismissed arguments that his arrest was unlawful.

Related Links:

Unfaithful Lees admits taking drugs, court told
AUSTRALIA: NT: Key witness Joanne lees, has testified in the Northern Territory Supreme Court to smoking Marijuana on the night her boyfriend Peter Falconio went missing.

Murdoch: Ambushed by Prosecution
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Day set aside for Falconio forensic evidence
More than a day has been set aside in the case of the man accused of murdering British backpacker Peter Falconio to hear evidence from a Northern Territory forensic scientist. Yesterday the Darwin Magistrates Court heard from mechanics and friends of the defendant Bradley John Murdoch.

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THE hearing into the murder of British tourist Peter Falconio has been closed to the public. Magistrate Alasdair McGregor has closed the court for part of the testimony of Mr Falconio's girlfriend Joanne Lees.

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Tourist dollar drives set-up for crime
The man alleged to have murdered English tourist Peter Falconio has been acquitted of rape and abduction charges in the South Australian District Court. Bradley John Murdoch, 45, was charged with two counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of indecent assault after an alleged incident in South Australia's Riverland in August last year.

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CHANNEL Nine lost a Supreme Court appeal today to have a suppression order on details of the case of missing backpacker Peter Falconio lifted. The Full Bench of the NT Supreme Court today ruled Magistrate Alasdair McGregor had the power to make the order banning from publication some details of the case.

Falconio magistrate closes court
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Innocent until proven guilty? Not in Australia's outback!
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DNA Links:

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First Grabs To Control Our DNA
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Criminal's DNA filed under relative's name
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