Joanne Lees

Littlegreylady

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Don't know whether this is the right place to post but since IMHO something fishy went on, I felt it could maybe squeeze into this category.

I watched her interview on Sky News last night and just can't shake the feeling how weird it all is and how weird she is.

For example, the reporter was taking it all slowly and asking about the holiday in Australia. All the time she said "I did this", "I liked this", "I found this".... no we, even though it was a joint holiday. I also felt she was very cold and clinical. Although that's not a reason to suspect her as she may well have come to terms with what had happened. I guess I'm just judging her by my own standards and I know I would be a snivelling wreck everytime I talked about it.


wiki, as usual, have a good summing up of her story:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanne_Lees

I know that she's no longer been investigated but I'm sure I remember there were doubts about Murdoch, the guy they charged, and whether he was responsible. Wiki mentions DNA doubts but I thought I remembered something about a possible alibi for him.

Just interested in everyone's thoughts really.
 

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I heard her interview on the Today program (Radio 4) yesterday morning.
She did come across as pretty cold and unemotional, in my opinion.
It's almost as if she no longer loved her boyfriend when it all happened, and she didn't feel the usual trauma that people feel when they lose a loved one.
However, what would her motivation be for killing Peter Falconio?
I haven't worked that one out.
 

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Saw the film "Wolf Creek" a while back, which claimed to be loosely based on true events. Does this mean the Lees/Falconio case? There were similarities, but differences, too, and I don't know too much about the case beyond what I've read in the papers.
 

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I thought from the start that this woman had rather unsympathetic media coverage, and wondered why. One reason might be that she didn't play along as a girly victim nicely enough.

How we see people in the news depends on how they are shown to us. The media like stereotypes - they make the job easier. If a person refuses to accept the stereotype, the media have to find another angle.
'OK, she's not going to give us the titillating stuff - we'll have to think of something else. So if she doesn't want to look like a victim, let's see how she likes suspicion of being a perp. ;) '

I think she is working hard to maintain her dignity. Not easy in her position. Good luck to her.
 

mindalai

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I agree with escargot, not everyone will provide the expected hysterics and drama expected in these situations. There are many reasons why she might not react as expected - shock, dignity or just plain old British reserve.

Also there has certainly been talk that their relationship was on the rocks before he was killed so maybe she just chose not to pretend to have feelings that she didn't have. Any why not?

Most people wouldn't react like she did but I don't see that as any reason to suspect her. I think if she had something to hide she would probably make more of a show of her grief instead of drawing attention to herself with her coolness.
 

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It was an odd case and I must admit that I had my suspicions at the beginning. Aspects of her story seemed improbable, especially her escape and her hiding in the desert. I still wonder whether we've been told the whole story.

Having said that the victim's family stood by her all along and I can't imagine they would have if there had been any doubt in their minds.
 

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Peripart said:
Saw the film "Wolf Creek" a while back, which claimed to be loosely based on true events. Does this mean the Lees/Falconio case? There were similarities, but differences, too, and I don't know too much about the case beyond what I've read in the papers.
The producers of Wolf Creek never said what true story, if any, it was based on, but it was similar to both the Falconio case and the Ivan Milat "Backpacker Murders" case. Seems to me it was about as true as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or Fargo.

As to Miss Lees, she reminds me of Lindy Chamberlain, who was not skilled at getting the media on her side either.
 

Littlegreylady

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True - it's certainly no reason to suspect her purely because she doesn't wail and cry. And had there not been the earlier suspicions about her, I probably wouldn't even have noticed it, or maybe I would have just admired her for being so together and non-emotional. I think it was more the "I" aspect, as though the relationship had never existed that caught my attention but then there were stories she'd had an affiar in Sydney so maybe her memories are based around herself because of a break up in the relationship.

And of course, the number of ppl who have been on television sobbing their hearts out and asking for the murdered to stand up, who then are arrested themselves are plentiful. So probably either behaviour from Ms Lees would have conjured up suspicion.
 

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I don't think it is right to suggest that doubts about this case are really just about this woman's demeanour. I don't recall seeing her interviewed in earlier coverage. There were many curious aspects to the case and the things I read or saw were attempts to reconcile physical facts with the evidence she had given.

It appears there is plenty to suggest the convicted man was in the region and capable of such crimes. But, as anyone who has ever served on a jury knows, trials often leave the Truth seeming strangely inaccessible!
:?:
 

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What I found unusual early on was that she didn't give press interviews. Nothing wrong with that - too many victims of terrible events are maniplated into giving soundbites with no benefit to themselves - but I began to wonder later if her silence was being taken for something else. ;)

If so, I don't like the message it gave - that if you don't co-operate with the news media, they'll slur you.

Nobody can tell how they will react to trauma. We hope we will have dignity but we don't know until it happens.
 

Bertie_Akbar

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Littlegreylady said:
True - it's certainly no reason to suspect her purely because she doesn't wail and cry. And had there not been the earlier suspicions about her, I probably wouldn't even have noticed it, or maybe I would have just admired her for being so together and non-emotional. I think it was more the "I" aspect, as though the relationship had never existed that caught my attention but then there were stories she'd had an affiar in Sydney so maybe her memories are based around herself because of a break up in the relationship.

And of course, the number of ppl who have been on television sobbing their hearts out and asking for the murdered to stand up, who then are arrested themselves are plentiful. So probably either behaviour from Ms Lees would have conjured up suspicion.
She may have been briefed by a lawyer to answer in a certain style, or picked it up through all her court dealings. I remember the Louise Woodward (the English nanny aquitted of killing a baby in her charge) appeared cold and unemotional after her trial. Interesting enough she was going to embark upon a career as a lawyer. My 2 cents.
 

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I was amazed that Murdoch was convicted, to be honest. However guilty or innocent Lees was in all of it- conspirator or terrified victim- I don't think they got the right man. Reading about the evidence, testimonies, huge discrepancies in Lees' story etc, I honestly thought that they would have to dismiss the case against Murdoch for lack of evidence.
He does sound like an arsehole according to accounts of his lifestyle and personality, but we all know a few of those! I wouldn't think any of them capable of murder just because they are unpleasant in other ways.
I don't know what it was, but this case stank from the beginning and I hope there will be people continuing to look into it. If they prove irrefutably Murdoch is guilty I'll be surprised, but glad that it had been proven once and for all.
 

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kirmildew wrote:


this case stank from the beginning
Yes, it did.

What also stank was the fact that trackers discovered the body of a second murdered man, an alleged 'tourist' also, not far from where someone (later claimed to be Murdoch) allegedly killed Falconio.

The Australian media only briefly mentioned the second murder, then it disappeared.

Joanne Lees demonstrated she's a strong, capable woman. But no-one has ever satisfactorily explained why the alleged killer and his dog were unable to find her that night. Just as it's never been satisfactorily explained how Lees, with her hands bound, was able to escape the alleged murderer's vehicle and dog.

Did Lees behave like a terrified young woman inexperienced in Outback conditions that night, or did she behave as a professional espionage agent?

The Northern Territory police were made to appear like clueless idiots, yet they're not. After several days, it was claimed the NT police had only just obtained security video footage, showing a man and vehicle fitting the description said to have been provided by Lees, at a road-side petrol stop.

No-one, meanwhile, publicly made the connection between the disappearance of Falconio, the murder of the second man and proximity to US 'secret' bases which in turn have been associated by those with an interest in such things with strange lights, strange booms, strange craft, seven-level deep bases, aliens, etc. and which are off-limits even to the Australian Federal Government. In fact, it's claimed variously that when ex-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam sought to honour his pre-election promises of forcing the US government to come clean about its extensive secret activities in Australia, it was arranged for him to be speedily removed, as he controversially was.

If I were to choose someone for the role of a female James Bond type operative, it would be Lees. She has the bearing, the composure under pressure, the coolness, the courage and eyes-only responses. Someone wanted to kill/silence her alright, but I don't for a moment believe it was Murdoch. I don't believe he or his dog were within 500 kilometres of her or Falconio that night. Someone was. Lees evaded them. Fantastic woman. It would be nice if she received recognition some day; maybe she will, when the wraps come off the classified files in 75 or more years.
 

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again6 said:
No-one, meanwhile, publicly made the connection between the disappearance of Falconio, the murder of the second man and proximity to US 'secret' bases
Perhaps because the alleged murder (hang on, he's been convicted so it's not alleged anymore) took place over 300 kms away from Pine Gap? Admittedly that's not very far in the outback, and it's closer than Uluru to Alice Springs, but Alice Springs is actually between Pine Gap and Barrow Creek, where this is all supposed to have happened.

Of course, I'm sure someone will claim it all really happened at Pine Gap, and they moved everything to divert suspicion, but if they were going to do that, why not dump them in Kakadu? Or on the reef? Or in the middle of the desert where they stood no chance of getting away?

And if Joanne Lees is a "James Bond type", why is she spending so much time in the public eye trying to put across her side of what happened. No-one would have suspected her if she just disappeared into obscurity after it all happened, but she's got a book out, she's doing the media circuit about it. It just doesn't add up.

That's not to criticise her for taking the publicity route, although plenty of people do. It just strikes me as unusual that someone who was supposed to be spying on the US keeps drawing attention to themselves.
 

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I just heard a fact that, if the events of the case were a novel, would certainly be indicative of something.

Lees said that Falconio was fascinated with construction sites and took loads of photos of them on their travels.

:?:

That's unusual.
 

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theyithian said:
I just heard a fact that, if the events of the case were a novel, would certainly be indicative of something.

Lees said that Falconio was fascinated with construction sites and took loads of photos of them on their travels.

:?:

That's unusual.
That's where fact and fiction kind of differ though, surely. In a book you expect things to signify something, but in real life, it's not always relevant. Years ago, I went through a phase of taking pictures of cranes on large building site. For some reason, they just fascinated me as a piece of design - although I'm sure Freud would have been winking and nudging me in the ribs over it somehow. It didn't mean I was working for rival architectural firms or planning to repeat the IRAs last urban development scheme for Manchester.

It's a bit like a character in a book adamantly refusing to eat red sauce on his fried breakfast in a very early scene, and the reader, knowing his mother had been killed previously, creates a platform for all kinds of thinking, "maybe she was clubbed to death with a bottle of it? maybe she used to serve it and it's a painful remainder? etc., etc.." yet halfway through the book it turns out he's got a mild tomato allergy. :roll:

what's the saying? Sometime's a cigar is just a cigar?
 

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I was amazed that Murdoch was convicted, to be honest. However guilty or innocent Lees was in all of it- conspirator or terrified victim- I don't think they got the right man. Reading about the evidence, testimonies, huge discrepancies in Lees' story etc, I honestly thought that they would have to dismiss the case against Murdoch for lack of evidence.
Except, his DNA was found at the scene.

I don't think there's any doubt that Murdoch was involved. My question would be whether the two victims were chosen completely at random or whether there was some sort of previous meeting/history there.
 

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Quake42 said:
Except, his DNA was found at the scene.

I don't think there's any doubt that Murdoch was involved. My question would be whether the two victims were chosen completely at random or whether there was some sort of previous meeting/history there.
From what I recall, there was talk of the DNA evidence having been brought into question as some of the detectives involved were a bit too determined to prove they'd got their man. By any means necessary? Evidence tampering, suppression or fabrication has all been done before.
 

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You're surely not accusing the Northern Territory police of a fit-up, are you?
 

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Even if DNA is found at the site of a crime, it does not prove that the individual carried out that crime just that they (or something/someone that they had been in contact with) had been in the vicinity prior to samples being taken.
 

kirmildew

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True. I just found her story to be incredibly holey anyway. She initially described the 'attacker' as having long hair, yet everyone seemed to overlook the fact that Murdoch had always been short haired. Seems quite a fundamental thing to get wrong- either a man has long hair or not, and clearly Murdoch never had.
 

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kirmildew said:
True. I just found her story to be incredibly holey anyway. She initially described the 'attacker' as having long hair, yet everyone seemed to overlook the fact that Murdoch had always been short haired. Seems quite a fundamental thing to get wrong- either a man has long hair or not, and clearly Murdoch never had.
Didn't she get his height pretty wrong too as well as the means by which she escaped his car? These are all pretty fundamental things to her story.
 

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I can recommend this new four part documentary on the crime, on 4OD
https://www.channel4.com/programmes/murder-in-the-outback/
It presents many reasons to think the conviction was unsafe and that the picture the jury was given wasn't exactly the whole story.
There are sections about statement analysis / body language / judging height from photos / the reliability and implied reliability of DNA testing / information about Lees lying in court / a witness who says he saw Falconio live and well years later... many things.

(I didn't know anything about this case before and suspect I'm going to disappear down a rabbit-hole of other documentaries. For one thing I am intrigued by the apparent changing position of the campervan, which wasn't mentioned. And the rather unconvincing description of Joanne running and hiding a confusing distance from the road, and not being found by the apparent murderer, and yet being able to make her way back to the road in the dark. )

The story is quite gripping (in that 'should-I-really-be-enjoying-this true crime sort of way). And also there are many gorgeous shots of the beautiful colours of the Australian outback...

- I don't know if this is the best place to put this, but it was the only thread I could find about the Falconio case.
 

Bigphoot2

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I can recommend this new four part documentary on the crime, on 4OD
https://www.channel4.com/programmes/murder-in-the-outback/
It presents many reasons to think the conviction was unsafe and that the picture the jury was given wasn't exactly the whole story.
There are sections about statement analysis / body language / judging height from photos / the reliability and implied reliability of DNA testing / information about Lees lying in court / a witness who says he saw Falconio live and well years later... many things.

(I didn't know anything about this case before and suspect I'm going to disappear down a rabbit-hole of other documentaries. For one thing I am intrigued by the apparent changing position of the campervan, which wasn't mentioned. And the rather unconvincing description of Joanne running and hiding a confusing distance from the road, and not being found by the apparent murderer, and yet being able to make her way back to the road in the dark. )

The story is quite gripping (in that 'should-I-really-be-enjoying-this true crime sort of way). And also there are many gorgeous shots of the beautiful colours of the Australian outback...

- I don't know if this is the best place to put this, but it was the only thread I could find about the Falconio case.
Very interesting documentary which certainly raised a lot of questions about the case.
 

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For one thing I am intrigued by the apparent changing position of the campervan, which wasn't mentioned.
I noticed it was parked off-road in the crime scene pics. I take it there was never an explanation as to why?
 

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She always appeared very uncooperative and manipulative to me, I vote guilty...
 

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I also recommend the 4od.

I was particularly struck with how they showed* that if Lees account was correct, she should have had lots more of Murdoch's DNA on her, not just the tiny bit that was found.


*re-enactment with a liquid on 'Murdoch's' hands that shows up under UV light
 

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That doco stinks. An appalling attempt to smear Joanne by two grubs. Fraser has tried this twice before. Watch the following critique if you want the 'facts'.

 
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(The relevant section of the video starts around 4.04 by the way.)

The channel four documentary wasn't presented in the sensationalist way you'd think from that clip. Perhaps it was given a different edit in Australia. I think that critique misrepresents the documentary I saw, and the critique footage mixes in all sorts of other things (bits from newspaper reviews, interviews from other programmes) - which is quite odd. Also, it's not much good asking the police involved whether they think it's rubbish, because obviously they're going to agree (not, 'oh yeah perhaps they're onto something... perhaps we did a poor job'). Also it's quite cheap to use silly voices to quote people (which that clip uses several times).

As far as I recall the documentary focused on showing there wasn't good evidence for it being Murdoch. And courts are generally obliged to provide good evidence for someone's guilt. I don't remember the programme suggesting there was any evidence Joanne had actually committed a murder, just that her story didn't match the physical evidence at the scene. Not exactly 'smearing' someone, unless you would say that the sort of thing you might offer in a court is 'smearing' someone? The main point wasn't about her anyway, it was that it wasn't possible to prove it was him (and that there were things that rather pointed towards the fact it wasn't him)?

The commentator refutes the documentary's suggestion that there was no evidence Falconio had been shot by saying "well there was, there was blood on the road" - but the point made in the documentary was that the blood did not show the sort of pattern you would expect. The forensic evidence at the scene would be central to casting doubt on Joanne's story and whether it was Murdoch. And the picture of what happened that night is surely very confused and murky. There were other people in the vicinity who've not come forward, apparently. There are many unanswered questions. I don't think Miller's statement about the red car is really central to any challenge about what happened, but the critique makes much of it (I'd be more interested in the forensic evidence at the scene of the crime).

I wouldn't agree "that doco stinks" and I'm interested to ask you why you feel so? Do you feel it misrepresented the facts (or 'facts'), and do you have a particular reason why you (apparently) feel so strongly about the result of the case being questioned?
 

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I've seen it before. The general public judges an innocent woman based on an unfair media interpretation of their demeanor. This program panders to that exact perception. I completely sympathise with Joanne's coldness towards the media, especially the Fleet Street pack. She's intelligent enough to know how they behave and that all they want is the scandal. I would have responded in the same manner.

It also gives far too much attention to people who (Fraser et al) simply want to profit from the situation by ramping up speculations of impropriety on the part of the victim. It's muckraking of the lowest order and deserves to be called out. My opinion is pretty much the same as that of Media Watch. I think the so-called 'new evidence' is bogus. For example, when Fraser and co are making their assessment of the circumstances in the roadside, much of what they say is factually incorrect. No judge in their right mind would give it a second glance, and the courts will continue to pass it over because it's all been previously shown, through mandated legal process, to be arsewater.

The truck driver's claims that his statement was doctored are unsubstantiated. I'm wary of judging character, so I won't go into what could be motivating him to spin his yarn.

I wish for Joanne to be left alone. She has been through more horror than any individual should. I despise the people who would see her continue to suffer for the sake of their own selfish, greedy ends. That includes the show's producers. the damn biographer, and the Fleet St press.
 
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