A key witness has sensationally revealed he saw a body that ‘looked like jelly’ being bundled into a car, who may have been murdered British backpacker Peter Falconio.
Mr Falconio’s body has never been found after he went missing in the dead of night on a lonely Northern Territory highway in July 2001, while on holidays with his British girlfriend Joanne Lees.
Truck driver Vince Millar, who rescued Ms Lees from the Stuart Highway, has revealed a shocking new detail about what he saw which throws doubt on the outback murder mystery.
Joanne Lees (left) and partner Peter Falconio (right). The pair were driving an orange Kombi van on the Stuart Highway to the Devil’s Marbles in July 2001 when they were ambushed
L-R: Barrow Creek publican Les Pilton, truck driver Vince Millar, and co-driver Rodney Adams arrive at the NT Supreme Court in Darwin to give evidence in 2005 at the trial of Bradley John Murdoch. Mr Millar (centre) has now revealed he saw a ‘jelly man’ being bundled into a car
The road-train driven by Mr Millar the night he rescued Joanne Lees on the Stuart Highway. Joanne Lees jumped out in front of the truck in a desperate attempt to be rescued, forcing Mr Millar to swerve and then stop
Before Ms Lees jumped out at his truck with her hands tied, Mr Millar had been driving his road train up the Stuart Highway.
As he was driving near Barrow Creek, about 280km north of Alice Springs, Mr Millar said he saw headlights circling and flashing on and off.
In explosive new details revealed on the four-part documentary, Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery, Mr Millar said he slowed his vehicle and saw something extraordinary.
Mr Millar revealed he saw a red car on the side of the highway with two men standing beside it.
Slowing to give assistance if needed, he saw the men bundling a man who looked ‘like jelly’ into the car.
‘There was something they didn’t want me to see. I am pretty sure that guy in the middle very well could have been Peter Falconio,’ Mr Millar says on the documentary made by Britain’s Channel 4 which screens in Australia on Sunday.
Pictured: Peter Falconio with his girlfriend Joanne Lees before they were ambushed on a lonely Northern Territory highway in the dead of night on July 14, 2001
Vincent James, stepfather of Joanne Lees, pictured in Alice Springs in 2001. Mr James now thinks Bradley John Murdoch is innocent of killing Peter Falconio after watching the TV series
Mr Millar said it was right after this encounter that Ms Lees leapt from the verge where she had been hiding in bushes, in a desperate bid to be rescued.
‘This sheila jumped out in front of my truck,’ he said.
Mr Millar has never before revealed this detail of the ‘jelly man’, saying police had simply never asked him about the events leading up to Ms Lees suddenly running in front of his truck, The Australian reported.
It has been almost 20 years since the killing of backpacker Peter Falconio.
Bradley John Murdoch was convicted in a 2005 jury trial of his murder.
Mr Falconio, 28, and Ms Lees, 27, had been driving their orange Kombi van up the Stuart Highway heading for the Devil’s Marbles on the night of July 14, 2001.
The pair felt they were being followed after passing a Barrow Creek roadhouse.
L-R: Mr Falconio’s father Luciano, his brother Paul Falconio and Ms Lees’ stepfather Vincent James attend a press conference in 2001. Mr James has said he believes the man convicted of killing the 28-year-old backpacker is innocent
Bradley John Murdoch (pictured) was found guilty in 2005 of the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio after his DNA was found on Joanne Lees’ clothing
‘I think he’s innocent’: Joanne Lees’ stepfather in stunning turnaround
Vincent James, stepfather of British backpacker Joanne Lees, now believes Australian killer Bradley John Murdoch is innocent of killing Peter Falconio – after watching a controversial documentary on TV.
‘At the time when I was there I thought he was guilty but now I don’t,’ he told NewsCorp from his home in Huddersfield, UK.
It is a sensational turn-around in the outback mystery.
Mr Falconio’s body has never been found but Mr Murdoch was convicted in a jury trial after his DNA was found on Ms Lee’s clothing.
Mr James said he had changed his mind after seeing the four-part documentary Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery.
The television program aired in Britain last month and begins on Seven this Sunday.
In it, experts raise questions about the DNA evidence and the small amount of Falconio’s blood at the scene.ine.
When a white Toyota ute pulled up alongside, the driver gestured to them to pull over, claiming he had seen sparks from the back of their van.
Then they were ambushed.
Ms Lees said she heard a bang, possibly a gunshot, after Mr Falconio got out of the van.
Ms Lees was punched and bound at gunpoint with cable ties. When her attacker was distracted she made a run for it, hiding in the scrub for hours as the gunman searched for her.
With her hands tied above her head, she leapt out in front of Vincent Millar’s road train in a desperate attempt at rescue.
Mr Millar swerved to avoid her then stopped and took her to safety.
Pictured: Peter Falconio with his girlfriend Joanne Lees. Bradley John Murdoch was convicted of murdering Mr Falconio, 28, and assaulting Ms Lees, then 27, on a remote stretch of highway in outback Northern Territory in 2001
Bradley John Murdoch, a mechanic from Broome in northwest Australia, pleaded not guilty to the outback murder and has maintained his innocence despite being convicted in 2005 after his DNA was found on Ms Lees’ T-shirt.
He went on the run when he first became a suspect in the case but was caught in South Australia.
Murdoch, now 62, is believed to have hidden Mr Falconio’s body, which has never been found despite extensive searches.
Murdoch was sentenced to life in jail with a minimum of 28 years to serve.
Last year, Murdoch was diagnosed with cancer, triggering a last-ditch attempt from police to elicit a confession in exchange for moving him to a prison closer to his family.
His earliest release date is 2032 however the Northern Territory passed a ‘no body, no parole’ law in 2016 preventing him from being released on parole unless he reveals where Mr Falconio’s body is.
Murdoch has unsuccessfully appealed his case and exhausted all avenues of appeal.
Bradley John Murdoch, 62, surrounded by police as he arrives at Darwin airport following his arrest in 2003. He now has cancer and will not have any chance of parole unless he reveals where Peter Falconio’s body is
In June’s episode of Murder in the Outback, a disgraced former defence lawyer aired a shocking claim from one of Peter’s friends who said the backpacker was ‘capable of faking his own death and committing life insurance fraud’.
Police in Australia have rejected suggestions Mr Falconio faked his own death.
The lawyer, Andrew Fraser, who was convicted in 2001 over cocaine importation, said a person claiming to be a friend of Mr Falconio’s suggested he had committed life insurance fraud.
He told the cameras: ‘One such theory that came to our attention is that Peter Falconio may have faked his own disappearance.
Murder in the Outback: The Falconio and Lees Mystery screens on Channel Seven at 7pm on Sunday