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Falconio killer's appeal rejected

21 June 07 10:59 GMT

The man convicted of killing UK tourist Peter Falconio in Australia's outback has lost his final bid for freedom.

Bradley Murdoch was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2005 for the murder of Mr Falconio, 28, of Hepworth, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

He was also convicted of abducting and assaulting Mr Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees, of Brighton.

Murdoch has lost one appeal and now his request for special leave to appeal to the High Court has also been refused.

Murdoch has always denied he was the killer and Mr Falconio's body has never been found. Ms Lees escaped and was found in the desert by a truck driver

No motive has ever been established for the attack on a stretch of highway near Barrow Creek, about 200 miles north of Alice Springs.

Miss Lees's stepfather Vincent James, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said the news was a "relief".

"I am pleased that (the application) has been rejected," he said. "I hope he stays in jail for the rest of his life."

He added: "Justice has been done."

DNA evidence

Murdoch lost an appeal at the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal in January against his conviction and the severity of his 28-year sentence, but sought special leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia.

But the court in Brisbane denied the application and said the appeal court had made no error in its earlier judgement.

Murdoch's lawyers had argued at the appeal court that the trial judge should have excluded Ms Lees' identification of him in a photograph line-up because she had already seen his picture on the internet.

The Crown argued that the evidence was not vital in the light of the "very damning" DNA evidence against him.

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