The Inspiration for Wolf Creek , the Movie

The movie “Wolf Creek” was marketed as being ‘based on true events’ , namely the case of British tourist Peter Falconio and his accused abductor Bradley John Murdoch. In this article, you will learn the details behind the incident, as well as what happened to Murdoch as a result.

Bradley John Murdoch was charged with the abduction of Peter Falconio and the assault of his girlfriend Joanne Lees in July of 2001. The incident took place in the Northern Territory, which added to some of the details of the “Wolf Creek” movie. Interestingly, when the film was initially released in Australia, Murdoch’s trial was still in session. Because of this, the Northern Territory court placed an injunction on the film’s release to avoid any tampering with the outcome of the proceedings.

Previous Life of Crime

Born in 1958, Bradley John Murdoch lived in Broome, Western Australia in his early years and later, worked odd jobs that may have included truck driving and working on cars. His first brush with the law came in 1980 when he was 21 years old. He was convicted of killing someone by recklessly driving and received a suspended sentence.

In 1995, Murdoch was sent to jail for 15 months for shooting at people who were celebrating at a football match. The incident took place in the remote Kimberley region located in Western Australia. He was arrested once again in August of 2002 for a variety of offenses. In South Australia, he committed a rape offense that involved a 12-year-old girl and her mother. For this crime, he was acquitted.

Murdoch has admitted to being a drifter and drug runner. Between Alice Springs and Broome in Western Australia, he confessed to transporting large amounts of marijuana.

The Murder of Peter Falconio

Murdoch was arrested in 2003 and charged with the murder of Peter Falconio. The case was titled: the Queen vs Bradley John Murdoch and went before the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in Darwin with Brian Ross Martin presiding as the judge.

Committal hearings took place in December of 2004 with an additional hearing in April of 2005, where some of the prosecution’s evidence was removed, such as the cable ties, which had been contaminated with DNA from the director of forensics.

The actual trial began on October 18, 2005. People believed that it would last for 6 to 8 weeks, but the jury was out on December 13 2005 and returned a guilty verdict on the same day , after 8 hours of deliberations. At the same time, Murdoch was convicted of other assault-related charges on Falconio’s girlfriend, Joanne Lees. Unfortunately, the body of Falconio was never located.

Where is Murdoch Now?

Given a sentence of life imprisonment for the murder of Peter Falconio, Murdoch is housed at the Alice Springs Correctional Centre in Alice Springs. When he is eligible for parole, he will be 74 years old since he it was ordered that he underwent a non-parole period of 28 years.  Since his sentence, he has issued two appeals , both of which were denied. The High Court also refused special leave for his appeal on June 21, 2007.

Murdoch claims that he is innocent and during the trial, his lawyers claimed that police followed incorrect procedures to convict their client. They stated that the testimony of Joanne Lees was inconsistent.