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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 05:44 GMT
Man charged with Falconio murder
Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees
Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees were ambushed in the outback
A man has been charged with the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio, who vanished after an ambush in the Australian outback in 2001.

Bradley Murdoch, 45, was also charged with assaulting and trying to abduct Mr Falconio's girlfriend Joanna Lees, 29.

Ms Lees, from Huddersfield, survived the ambush. Mr Falconio, 28, is believed to have been shot dead.

Mr Murdoch was arrested after being acquitted of unrelated sex offences. He says police are trying to frame him.

The disappearance of Mr Falconio, from Hepworth, West Yorkshire, is one of Australia's most notorious unsolved crimes.

He is believed to have been shot during a hold-up on a deserted outback highway near Alice Springs in July 2001.

Ms Lees told police she was kidnapped, but managed to escape and hid in the bush. She later flagged down a passing motorist.

The body of Mr Falconio, a Sussex University graduate, has never been found, despite a massive police hunt.

Mr Murdoch, a mechanic and truck driver from Broome, Western Australia, was arrested earlier this week outside the Adelaide court where he was acquitted of the sex offences.

He was charged by Northern Territory police who flew him to Darwin on Thursday, after a successful federal extradition hearing.




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