Backpacker killer Bradley John Murdoch, seen here at Darwin Airport in November 2003, has been diagnosed with cancer, the NT News can reveal. Picture: Patrina Malone
Backpacker killer Bradley John Murdoch, seen here at Darwin Airport in November 2003, has been diagnosed with cancer, the NT News can reveal. Picture: Patrina Malone

Revealed: NT backpacker killer’s cancer fight

BACKPACKER killer Bradley John Murdoch has been diagnosed with cancer, the NT News can reveal.

The 61-year-old was diagnosed earlier this year.

It is understood Murdoch initially refused treatment but has since changed his mind and is receiving treatment at Royal Darwin Hospital. 

One prison officer told the NT News that the infamous inmate has had extended periods of leave from his job in the prison kitchen.

Murdoch works as a pastry chef and is well known for his desserts.

He pleaded not guilty to the roadside execution-style murder of British traveller Peter Falconio and assaulting and attempting to kidnap his girlfriend Joanne Lees on a remote part of the Stuart Highway near Barrow Creek on July 14, 2001.

 

Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees
Peter Falconio and Joanne Lees

 

He is 14 years into a life sentence and it's understood law enforcement will be making last-ditch attempts to get him to reveal the location of Mr Falconio's body.

Prison sources say Murdoch continues to protest his innocence.

Authorities have indicated they would be willing to grant him a transfer to a West Australian prison to be closer to family but only if he revealed the location of Mr Falconio's body. 

In 2016, the NT Government passed a 'no body, no parole' law, meaning despite being allowed to apply for parole in 2033, it will not be given.

Former NT Police assistant commissioner John Daulby previously told The Project: "The case isn't closed until they find Peter."

The diagnosis comes only weeks after fellow backpacker killer Ivan Milat died from oesophageal cancer.

In 2015, the NT News was leaked documents that allege the murderer was treated "more like a prison guard" inside the Darwin Correctional Centre, regularly threw tantrums and wielded significant influence over the kitchen work gang.

 

On November 10, 2003, Bradley John Murdoch was handcuffed and placed in the back of a vehicle by police. He was later charged with the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio. Picture: Michael Milnes
On November 10, 2003, Bradley John Murdoch was handcuffed and placed in the back of a vehicle by police. He was later charged with the murder of British backpacker Peter Falconio. Picture: Michael Milnes


According to a complaint made by a prison officer working in the kitchen alongside Murdoch to the Professional Standards and Intelligence Unit, he harassed her and others by spreading malicious rumours, playing officers against each other and standing over prisoners.

"… I started to notice that prisoner Murdoch had a fair bit of power and when things did not go his way he would throw a tantrum so to speak," the complaint stated.

"He would huff and puff around the kitchen and threaten to quit his job."

The complaint also alleged Murdoch was allowed to sign for deliveries and put combination locks on things in the kitchen that not even the officers had the codes for.

The investigation into the complaint resulted in Murdoch being sacked from the kitchen but he was re-employed not long after.

In 2012, Murdoch was transferred back to Darwin's prison, in order to "destabilise him" - prison-speak for preventing him from becoming too settled, and too powerful, in his environment.

Murdoch had been earlier shifted from Berrimah to Alice Springs because he was becoming too familiar with guards and certain prisoners.

He is one of a select group of high profile prisoners who the NT Government prohibits from speaking to the media.