“I think he’s dead and I think that one day they’ll find a skeleton out there with the St Christopher medal, his watch and his phone, then everyone will accept he didn’t fake his own death,” Robin tells New Idea.
“I do think he died, but whether he died in the circumstances described by Joanne Lees is a completely different issue.
“That story I have difficulty with, for a lot of reasons.”
The Australian writer is not branding Joanne a liar. But Robin says her own research has uncovered uncomfortable impossibilities in the now-46-year-old UK-born woman’s incredible tale of survival.
She has even gone as far as re-enacting the night of the murder and abduction in the harsh Aussie outback to pinpoint exactly how Peter’s disappearance would have unfolded.
“I’m not calling her a liar, I think something bad happened to her out there that night, but it wasn’t what she said happened. And I don’t know why she would have made up stories,” Robin explains.
“If they were attacked by somebody – and it could have been drug related – if they were attacked … and she saw Peter shot or carried away, they might have said to her ‘Just make yourself scarce or we’ll come after you as well’.”
“We re-enacted with a film crew exactly what Joanne said happened and it couldn’t have happened. I don’t think the full truth is known about what happened that night.”
Robin adds: “I do think Peter has died, whether it was there or elsewhere, and I do think the story she told doesn’t add up.”
Robin was present for the 2005 trial and conviction of Murdoch, a truck driver and bush mechanic, and says she was shocked his guilty verdict relied largely on DNA found on Joanne’s T-shirt.
She claims there are a number of explanations as to how Murdoch’s DNA found its way onto the fabric of the British tourist’s shirt.
“The DNA on Joanne’s shirt puts him in contact with her T-shirt in some way. But it doesn’t necessarily put him in contact with Joanne Lees,” Robin explains.
“There are other possibilities – and I’ve checked these with DNA experts – he went into a Red Rooster at 11am that morning to buy some chicken nuggets for his dog.
“He said he often has cuts and bruises on his hands because he was a mechanic.
“It’s possible that, when he was walking through the Red Rooster, that he moved a chair or picked it up and he left some DNA on it. DNA transfers very easily. Joanne and Peter went into the Red Rooster a couple of hours later … she may have sat in that chair.”
Murdoch, Peter and Joanne also all attended the Northern Territory’s Camel Cup on July 14, 2001. So could they have been in contact with each other without even realising it?
Robin concedes that while she cannot attest to Murdoch’s innocence, she is also of the opinion that justice has never been truly served in the death of Peter Falconio.
“I’ve become known as a crusader of the truth and justice. I don’t think the truth has been told, so therefore I don’t think justice has been done. I don’t make any claims
as to whether Murdoch did it or not – but I don’t think he had
a fair trial. I was there, I saw it and it was a travesty. It was just a joke,” Robin says.
“I have grave difficulties with Joanne’s story, but I do believe something bad happened to her that night.
“She thought the media would concentrate on looking for Pete. She didn’t think they’d be so interested in her. But of course they were; she allegedly evaded a fierce gunman in the Australian outback!”