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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 December 2005, 16:35 GMT
Violent past of Bradley Murdoch
Bradley Murdoch
Murdoch served a jail sentence for shooting at a crowd of Aborigines
Bradley Murdoch was obsessed with guns and has claimed, on a number of occasions, that police have tried to frame him for serious crimes.

Two years ago, the drugs runner was cleared of tying up and raping a 12-year-old girl and abducting her "for insurance" because he was afraid that police were about to arrest him for Peter Falconio's murder.

The South Australia District Court heard that Murdoch, 47, told the girl and her mother, who thought he was their friend, that he was "on the run" because he had been framed.

He was found not guilty in November 2003 but the case has a number of striking similarities with the Falconio case.

During the alleged ordeal, in Riverland, South Australia, it was claimed that he denied killing Mr Falconio but admitted having one of his T-shirts, the court heard.

The prosecution in the earlier trial said Murdoch was obsessed with the disappearance of Mr Falconio.

"He believed, for whatever reason, the police were after him for this well-publicised murder trial," prosecution counsel Liesl Chapman said.

Article 'found'

Ms Chapman said Murdoch had put black cable ties around the mother and daughter's wrists and that the girl's legs had been shackled.

The jury in the Falconio case heard that he had put black cable ties around Miss Lees' wrists and that he had tried to put tape around her legs.

Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio in their camper van
Murdoch was found guilty of murdering Peter Falconio

And in the earlier trial, the girl said her attacker had a white Toyota Landcruiser with a dark canopy, as did Miss Lees.

When he was arrested in connection with the rape case, it is alleged that police found an article about Mr Falconio in the room of a guest house where he had stayed.

Officers who made the arrest found a huge arsenal of weapons in Murdoch's van, including a high-powered rifle with telescopic sight, a fully-loaded .38 Beretta semi-automatic pistol, night-vision goggles, nearly 800 rounds of ammunition, a crossbow, an electric cattle prod and chains and shackles like the ones used to bind Miss Lees' wrists.

The court heard he tried in vain to resist tests to analyse his DNA which eventually linked him to the murder of Mr Falconio.

'Impulsive and irrational'

Murdoch had already served a 21 month jail sentence for shooting at a crowd of Aboriginal football supporters in 1995 who he claimed were harassing him.

At South Australia District Court, Murdoch admitted firing the shots.

Psychologist Ross Smith reported that Murdoch was "in such a state that nothing was going to tone him back".

He had an "impulsive and irrational way", she said.

Murdoch moved large amounts of cannabis around Australia, taking amphetamines as he drove through the night.

He timed his journeys to arrive back in his home town of Broome, in Western Australia, when police shifts were changing.

Described in court in the Falconio case as meticulous and obsessive, he changed his appearance regularly in order to avoid the police.


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