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Outback killer denied final appeal
Australian High Court upholds mechanic's life sentence for killing British backpacker.
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2007 04:49 GMT
Murdoch attacked the couple after flagging
down their van near Barrow Creek [Reuters]
Australia's highest court has dismissed a final appeal by a mechanic against his life sentence for killing a British tourist and attempting to kidnap his girlfriend six years ago.
 
Bradley John Murdoch was convicted for murdering Peter Falconio and for trying to abduct Joanne Lees in an ambush on a remote stretch of outback highway in July 2001.
The High Court on Thursday refused to hear Murdoch's appeal, saying a lower court was right to allow Lees's testimony as the sole witness to the incident.
 
The ruling shuts the door on further appeals by Murdoch, 48, who is serving a life sentence and is not eligible for parole for 28 years.
Murdoch's lawyers had sought permission to appeal against the sentence saying the trial court was wrong to allow Lees's "tainted" evidence, claiming she had seen an internet photograph of him a month before reporting him to police.
 
Crucial testimony
 
Lees's testimony was central in proving that Murdoch shot Falconio in the head after flagging down the couple's camper van near the outpost of Barrow Creek.
 
At the trial, she said Murdoch threatened her with a gun, punched her in the head and bound her with cable restraints.
 
She told the court how she managed to escape and cowered in the bushes for hours as her attacker hid Falconio's body and then stalked her with a dog.
 
Falconio's body was never found despite attempts by Aboriginal trackers and a clairvoyant to locate it.
 
The authorities believe Murdoch hid the corpse somewhere in Australia's vast interior.
Source:
Agencies
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