Peter Falconio And The Real Life Wolf Creek

True Crime Conversations

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Peter Falconio And The Real Life Wolf Creek

True Crime Conversations explores the world's most notorious crimes by speaking to the people who know the most about them. This month we’re focusing in on Australia’s most notorious crimes...

It’s a Saturday night in the middle of July, 2001, when Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees travel down the Stuart Highway in their orange Kombi van. 

Peter is 28, and in the driver’s seat. His girlfriend, 27-year-old Joanne, is in the passenger seat. They’ve been in Australia for a little over five months, first arriving in Sydney on a working holiday Visa. They’d come from Brighton in England, prepared for the trip of a lifetime. 

On June the 25th, the young tourists departed Sydney to embark on a road trip across Australia, starting in Canberra, then on to Melbourne, Adelaide, Darwin and Brisbane. 

The couple had been in Alice Springs, and are bound that night for the Devils Marbles, south of Tennant Creek. The road is long, and the drive notoriously remote. You rarely see another car, and the road extends as far as the eye can see, kilometres ahead. It’s eerie. If you stand on the side of the road, it’s so quiet and still you’re able to hear your own heartbeat. 

They had stopped at the roadhouse in Barrow Creek, but once they set off again, they start to notice something unusual. A car. They keep expecting the car to overtake them, but it doesn’t. Along the expanse of road, a Toyota 4WD with a large green canopy in the back, approaches them. The driver gestures for them to pull over. Something must be wrong. 

There is a twinge of fear. They’re alone. More than 15,000 kilometres from home. News had emerged recently in Australia and internationally of backpacker murders, with tourists like them disappearing in the Australian outback. 

They pull the car over. A man approaches them. 

And a few hours later, Northern Territory police get a panicked phone call. 

 

CREDITS

Guest: Colleen Gwynne

Host: Jessie Stephens

Audio Producer: Ian Camilleri

Producer: Gia Moylan

 

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