Creek Saga.. continues
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If you want
any of the links just ask me
police on outback murder - Owen Bowcott, The Guardian UK
by girlfriend in outback murder case - Barbie Dutter, Daily Telegraph UK
Supported - Sky News UK
could aid Falconio investigation - Guardian, UK
up Joanne's story - Itv UK
support outback murder story - Reuters/CNN
in Falconio case - BBC News
in hunt for tourist's 'killer' - Ananova
back girlfriend's ambush account - Reuters
widens - Rod McGuirk, News Interactive
Falconio case findings released - John Highfield, The World Today
investigation sound says police review - ABC News online
investigation on track: NT Police - ABC News Online
investigation examines Qld link - ABC News Online
disappearance still shrouded in mystery - Murray McLaughlin, 7.30 Report
review salutes Falconio investigation, Anne Barker, ABC PM
Peter Falconio 'insurance scam' claims - Ananova
faked death or insurance says informant - Billy Adams, NZ Herald
police go public over missing tourist - NZ Herald
thrive - Anna Cock, News Interactive
may have faked own death ABC News Online, PM
may have faked own death - Anne Barker, ABC PM
slam 'fake' claim - News Interactive
dad 'not ruling out faked disappearance' - Ananova
Lack of tears
damned Lees in media eyes - Frances Grant, NZ Herald
'fake' probe - News Interactive & The Sunday Mail
Peter Falconio 'insurance scam' claims - Ananova
if Peter Falconio faked his death' - Ananova
'may have faked' death - News Interactive
for Lees - News Interactive
victim's mum dies - News Interactive
for backpackers - News Interactive
girlfriend not surprised DNA didn't match - Ananova
may have faked own death
In the Northern
Territory, the case of missing British tourist Peter Falconio is no closer
to solution even though police have now confirmed they've examined evidence
that Mr Falconio may have faked his own death in an insurance scam. The
accusation was in an anonymous letter sent to police last February from
someone claiming to be a friend of the missing man. Police are so far discounting
the claims and are still treating the case as a homicide.
News Online, PM
police are investigating sensational claims that missing British backpacker
Peter Falconio faked his own Outback murder. Police yesterday told The
Sunday Mail they had received a letter from an anonymous British informant
saying 28-year-old Mr Falconio had asked for detailed information about
life insurance policies and ways in which deaths could be faked – before
he left for Australia. Police said they were still conducting a murder
investigation but would consider all information supplied to them.
girlfriend Joanne Lees has said they were ambushed as they were stopped
on a remote section of the Stuart Highway by a stranger with a "Mexican"
moustache on July 14 last year. The 28-year-old from England told police
Mr Falconio was gunned down. She said she was tied up in the back of the
gunman's truck but she managed to escape and hide in scrub.Mr Falconio
has not been seen since.
The claims made in the letter, received by police on February 25, match
allegations made in a separate affidavit written by a friend and workmate
of Mr Falconio. The existence of the affidavit was revealed yesterday by
Britain's Daily Mail newspaper. NT police said they had "no evidence suggesting
it was an insurance scam" but a spokeswoman said investigators would consider
speaking to the author of the affidavit. "We have a similar letter, which
was anonymous, that was sent to us from Britain," she said.
have also interviewed a backpacker who claims he recently saw Mr Falconio
on the east coast of Australia. While they are convinced of the informant's
sincerity, investigators have ruled it out as a positive sighting.The police
spokeswoman said: "As far as we're concerned this is still a murder investigation.
"We don't want to discourage anyone in the public from giving new information.
But we're quite clear we have no evidence suggesting an insurance scam."
NT Police Assistant Commissioner John Daulby said he was worried about
the impact the claims of a faked disappearance might have.
"I am also
concerned for Joanne Lees and the family of Peter Falconio who have already
faced media scrutiny for almost a year and are victims in this matter,"
"I have discussed this matter with the Falconio family and have assured
them that we are continuing with this homicide investigation and I am confident
that we will find the offender."
will hold a press conference within the next few days to reveal the results
of a review of their performance on the case.Police have been criticised
for their slow response to several aspects of the investigation, including
delays in releasing security video images from an Alice Springs service
station which showed a man matching the description of the gunman several
hours after the attack.They have also faced criticism over the time it
took for roadblocks to be set up along the Stuart Highway and other Outback
roads after the attack, over the efficiency and effectiveness of NT forensic
investigations, and over the fact there was a delay of a week before an
Aboriginal tracker was brought in to examine the attack site. Source:
Interactive & The Sunday Mail
Falconio case findings released
Sunday, Les Pilton and his partner Helen Jones will mark the anniversary
of one of the Australia's greatest outback mysteries with a quiet toast,
a toast to the peace and tranquillity of the British Falconio family and
Joanne Lees. Mr Pilton and Ms Jones are the licensees of the isolated Barrow
Creek pub on the Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory. They were the
ones to give first comfort to the sobbing, terrified Joanne when she was
brought in by a motorist after her ordeal in the scrub on July 15 last
year. This morning the Northern Territory Police Service has released the
findings of an independent review of its year long investigation into the
disappearance of Joanne's boyfriend of six years standing, Peter Falconio.
Police have come under constant criticism for their handling of the case,
from apparent delays in setting up roadblocks on the night of the apparent
kidnapping, to delays in releasing an Alice Springs truck stop video of
a person of interest to the investigation, a man with a canvas backed four-wheel-drive.
I am feeling positive and strong and believe that it is only a matter of
time now before the man responsible will [inaudible] to be with myself
in court. I am confident that everything is being done and I'm hoping one
of these leads the police are following up leads to him being found. I
am confident that he will be found. If I could say one thing to this man
who did this I would ask him to let the police know where he is.
British tourist Joanne Lees and her ordeal. We today the Northern Territory
Police announced the results of an independent review but they also revealed
something else. There had been a similar in Queensland some months before
the incident in the Northern Territory, Anne Barker our Northern Territory
correspondent is covering things at the New Conference at the Police Headquarters
in Darwin, she joins us now on the line. Anne, what did the Police Service
of the Northern Territory have to say about their investigation?
Well as you said John largely this investigation was to look at the police
handling of the case in the year since the incident happened. Not so much
at the case itself. There has been criticism on several fronts going back
to night when it happened when road blocks were set up. Questions about
whether those road blocks should have been put up a lot earlier to stop
the gunman from getting away. Questions about the release of that video
from Shell Shop stop in Alice Springs. The fact that it was only done several
weeks afterwards. Right down to administrative details for handling of
information technology and the way the police handled media questions about
the whole investigation. The potential contamination of the crime scene,
the fact that police went in on the night and potentially contaminated
the evidence. And on all fronts the police have largely being clear of
any mishandling of the case. Certainly the Police Commissioner, John Dolby,
has said that there's always room for improvement in any major crime investigation.
But largely the way it was handled was very professional. The forensic
staff involved carried out their activities with absolute professionalism.
The fact that the scene may have been contaminated was justifiable because
in the early hours of the investigation it was possible that Peter Falconio
was still alive and therefore the police went in. And the video the [inaudible]
who did the review has accepted all the reasoning behind the delays there.
So largely, it's a tick for the detectives and the task force involved
in this investigation and the way they carried out the case.
they still haven't come up with a result. They have this morning as I understand
it revealed that in Queensland there was an incident which had some similarities
some months before.
Yes, two weeks before Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio headed north from
Alice Springs there was apparently an incident at Hewenden which is about
two hours out of Brisbane in remote Queensland. Apparently, a group of
tourists who were also travelling in a Comby van on the Flinders Highway
and a man in a four-wheel-drive had driven by twice and slowed down and
obviously interested in what appeared to be two women driving this Comby
van. They apparently became very alarmed and there was there was another
man travelling with them who was in the back of the comby van, out of view.
However this tourist did actually take the registration number of that
car and the police checked on it and found that it should have been on
a Mitsubishi car from further down south in Victoria. And obviously and
not belonging to a four-wheel-drive. They haven't revealed any information
about this before, but they said today that they're going to renew enquiries
into that and certainly make the public aware of it. Perhaps it's a line
of enquiry that might now give them the missing link in the whole case.
they indicate as to whether this four-wheel-drive with apparent stolen
plates on it though, answered a similar description of the one in the Northern
Territory with the canvas back on it and so on.
The only information they had was that one was a dual cab and that was
the one that Joanne Lees has reported in the Northern Territory. And that
this one in Queensland had two doors, whether than means a match or not
is yet to be seen. But they certainly didn't say that there was anything
else that showed any similarity between the two incidents.
just finalising it briefly Anne, I believe that they did also dismiss the
speculation, tabloid speculation in the UK over the weekend if it being
an insurance scam.
Yes, John Dolby today did say that he confirmed again that the police did
receive a letter from Brighton in England back in February from a man who
was said to be a friend of Peter Falconio. And as we know from the last
few days that letter apparently claimed that Peter Falconio had staged
his own disappearance as part of an insurance scam and that he'd made enquiries
in the days leading up to his departure from England about life insurance
policies and so on. The police have said that there is no evidence to support
that claim, and of course there is considerable evidence to support the
case that he did in fact, he was shot dead in Northern Territory. Certainly
based on Joanne Lees case, and interestingly, apparently the amount of
insurance that is at stake for Peter Falconio was insignificant. So I guess
that that too would put paid to any suggestions that kind. COMPERE: Anne
Barker was speaking to us from Police Headquarters in Darwin. Source
ABC: The World Today
investigation sound says police review
A review of
Northern Territory police's investigation into the disappearance of British
tourist Peter Falconio in July last year has proved positive for the police.
Mr Falconio has been missing since a gunman stopped his car north of Alice
Springs 12 months ago and attempted to abduct his girlfriend Joanne Lees.
Assistant Commissioner John Daulby says the review is a positive outcome
for police on the way they have handled the investigation. Mr Daulby says
the review team accepted the reason for delaying the release of a critical
security video from an Alice Springs truck stop. He says police still need
to know the identity of the driver seen at the truck stop some three hours
after the attack. Mr Daulby says there are still more than 800 reports
to be investigated and while the police team is being scaled down, he is
confident the attacker will be found. Source:
News Online 9 Jul 2002
investigation on track: NT Police
Police say an internal review of their investigations into the disappearance
of a British tourist last year shows they are on the right track. A gunman
tricked Peter Falconio into stopping on the Stuart Highway, north of Alice
Springs and then tried to abduct his girlfriend Joanne Lees. Mr Falconio
has not been seen since. Assistant Commissioner John Daulby says the review
shows criticism of the police investigations is largely baseless and police
acted quickly and appropriately.Mr Daulby says there are still many leads
to follow and he believes the mystery will be solved."I'm confident we'll
catch the killer. I'm confident the answer's out there," he said. "I'm
confident that someone in some point in time will give us that piece we're
looking for. "And we've said all along, this wasn't going to be easy, it's
not easy at all. We've worked very hard on this. There's still a lot to
be done." Source: ABC
News Online 9 Jul 2002
investigation examines Qld link
A man driving
a four-wheel-drive Toyota utility with a canvas canopy stalked three British
tourists near Hughenden in Queensland, two weeks before the attack on Peter
Falconio in the Northern Territory. Police say the man followed the tourists
and passed them twice before driving away when he realised one of the tourists
was a man. Northern Territory Assistant Commissioner, John Daulby, today
released a review into the taskforce investigating the disappearance and
suspected murder of Mr Falconio, near Barrow Creek, north of Alice Springs,
in July last year. Police say a gunman tricked Mr Falconio and his girlfriend
Joanne Lees into stopping their van, apparently shot Mr Falconio and attempted
to abduct Ms Lees. Mr Daulby says while there are differences in the description
of the man in the Queensland incident, the utility may have had false number
plates. He says attempts to track the vehicle have failed. Mr Daulby says
the review identified the need to track the driver of the utility. Source:
News Online 9 Jul 2002
disappearance still shrouded in mystery
Welcome to the program.
marks the anniversary of the disappearance in central Australia of the
young English tourist Peter Falconio. According to his girlfriend, Joanne
Lees, their vehicle was intercepted late at night on the Stuart Highway
near Barrow Creek, north of Alice Springs. Joanne Lees managed to escape
their armed hijacker, but Peter Falconio has never been found. From the
start, NT police have believed Joanne Lees's story. But she's been the
subject of continuing rumour and speculation in the British tabloid press.
Only in the past week came suggestions that Peter Falconio could have faked
his death. Despite the biggest manhunt in Territory history, an arrest
seems as far away ever. Earlier this year, persistent criticism prompted
an internal police inquiry into the investigation.
reports on the findings.
Joanne Lees was holding back tears when she fronted the Australian news
media in Alice Springs, for the first and only time 11 days after the disappearance
of her partner, Peter Falconio.
JULY 25, 2001: I am feeling positive and strong and believe it's only a
matter of time before the man responsible for what has happened to Pete
and myself is caught.
That man has not yet been caught. Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio were driving
their Kombi van to Darwin when it was hijacked 280km north of Alice Springs.
It's suspected that Falconio was shot. Lees says she escaped after being
dragged from the van and hunted by an armed male attacker and his dog.
The subsequent investigation has tested the resources of the NT police.
Today the media room at police headquarters in Darwin was crowded for a
briefing about a six-week review of the police investigation. The review
was done by a superintendent and a retired assistant commissioner from
SA. According to police themselves, their year-long investigation has passed
ASST COMMISSIONER, NT POLICE: The review team gave the task force investigating
the disappearance a positive report card. However, we found that like any
major incidents or investigations of any serious crime, or major crime,
there's always room for improvement.
The review is not being released to the public. Police say it's a working
document. But it does apparently dismiss criticisms of their investigation
which have dogged Territory police over the past year such as whether they
set up roadblocks quickly enough.
The review team found that the roadblocks were put up in a timely fashion,
taking into consideration the time received of the call to police at Alice
Springs. I think that was about 2:05 on the morning of the 15th. However,
they did find there was a lack of uniformity in record-keeping.
Then there was the question of why it took police until May this year to
release a surveillance video from a service station on the outskirts of
Alice Springs. The customer in black shopped here within hours of the hijack
and remains unknown to police. Having first denied their knowledge of any
video, police later said it needed to be specially enhanced before it could
The review team accepted the reasoning behind the delayed release f that.
But there were hints of shortcomings in the management of the police investigation.
There was inadequate follow-up to a report of threats to tourists on the
Flinders Highway in north-west Queensland only days before the Falconio
incident. And the police computer system wasn't up to the job of collating
the 23,000 pieces of information and checks of 2,300 so-called "persons
of interest" relating to the investigation. The system is called PROMIS,
standing for Police Realtime Online Management System.
While the PROMIS system is a very effective and efficient system for the
day-to-day management of incidents and to a lesser extent serious crime
management in a matter such as this, considering the huge amount of information
they were dealing with on a daily basis, the enormity of it was such that
it was found to be somewhat inefficient. MURRAY McLAUGHLIN: Most emphatic
today was police support for Joanne Lees's version of what happened. A
forensic scientist displayed the soiled top she was wearing that night.
From it, police have extracted a yet-to-be matched DNA sample. Also revealed,
photographs of injuries which she sustained on her knees and elbows.
I haven't dragged these out before. I guess I get a bit exasperated with
it. You've probably asked the question before. Of course I believe Joanne
Lees. She is very much a victim, as is the Falconio family.
There's been yet more grief for the Falconio family this week with the
Daily Mail newspaper in England reporting an affidavit by an acquaintance
of Peter Falconio. The acquaintance said Falconio had asked questions soon
before he left for Australia about how a death could be faked overseas.
DAILY MAIL NEWSPAPER: The reason why this particular person knew so much
about faked deaths was that he previously worked in an insurance company
and was privy to a department that actually investigated deaths overseas.
He thought it was rather interesting that Peter Falconio, having asked
so many questions about "How do you go about it?" should then travel to
Australia and suddenly disappear under mysterious circumstances.
The Territory police are unmoved by this latest twist.
they received similar information anonymously and are discounting the latest
the crime is solved, speculation hurtful to the distant families will continue
Every day I wake up with a different thought about it, but perhaps this
will be one of those ongoing mysteries which even Agatha Christie didn't
have the depth of mind to draw up.
I'm confident we will catch the killer. I'm confident that the answer is
out there. I'm confident that someone at some point in time will give us
that piece we're looking for. We've said this all along. This wasn't going
to be easy and it's not easy at all and we've worked very hard on this
and there's still a lot to be done. Source:
7.30 Report, 9th July 2002.