Joanne Lees secretly returned to Australia last October to raise money for a roadside memorial to her murdered boyfriend, British backpacker, Peter Falconio.
The 43 year old has now revealed the sculpture will take the shape of a falcon (inspired by Peter’s name) and be called “Falcon Dreaming”.
Lees has chosen Ti Tree, 200km north of Alice Springs, for the memorial because it was the last place that the British couple refuelled on their 2001 outback adventure, before watching the sunset together. “We thought we had the rest of our lives together,” she said.
Helping on her mission is Bruce and Denise Morcombe, whose son, Daniel, was abducted and murdered on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 2003. The couple, who devote their lives to promoting personal safety awareness to children, have created a donations page for Lees on the Daniel Morcombe Foundation website. “This campaign is to raise money for a permanent memorial for Peter which will celebrate his life and recognise his example encouraging people to explore and embrace the world and cultures around them,” read a statement.
On the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes on Feb. 12, Lees returned to where her boyfriend was murdered on the Stuart Highway, 100km north of Barrow Creek. She met with Aboriginal elders who gave a commitment they would keep the search alive for the remains of her boyfriend.
Lees said she would “never be fully at peace” until Falconio’s body is found.
“I do feel his spirit, he is always with me but it does feel stronger whilst I am in this area cos I do know he is nearby,” she said.
In December 13 2005, drug dealer Bradley Murdoch was convicted of the murder of Falconio and attempted abduction of Lees. He has never revealed the location of Falconio’s body.
Lees also spoke of her anger and frustration in not being believed by police and the media: “There have been times when I felt it would have been easier if I had died that night”.
Lees said she had been drawn back to Australia because her father is Australian and in an extraordinary twist, revealed that she had recently found a sister, Jess, last year. Lees is in the process of applying for Australian citizenship.
“The darkness and trauma is less potent and I am allowing more light into my life and going back to the Northern Territory has been really wonderful,” she said.