The prosecution proved it beyond reasonable doubt at his trial. That's the bit that baffles me. There is no conclusive evidence that anyone was murdered. I'd love to know what the defence was doing.
Only that he's never been seen or heard from since, a credible (I'll get to that) witness heard a gun shot moments before he disappeared and they found multiple pools of his blood on the road.
It's pretty conclusive he's dead. It's not just a balance of probabilities thing, any doubt is just not reasonable.
What ever people think of Lees' as a human being is beside the point, she was a credible witness. She was a credible witness not because she's Mother Teresa reincarnated, but because her version of the pertinent events was corroborated by a huge amount of physical evidence.
To come to any other conclusion is just not reasonable. Is there doubt? There always is in criminal trials. But the alternate version of events involves a conspiracy theory even more elaborate than it is pointless.
That just leaves the question as to whether or not they got the right guy. I have always been troubled by the veracity of forensic evidence (and it's ability to be properly cross examined) in our adversarial system. Today, I'd like to see more/better evidence corroborating the DNA, but the fact that wasn't provided at Murdoch's trial doesn't mean anything. Yes, it creates a shadow of doubt. But is it a reasonable doubt?
Even without the DNA evidence, there was enough circumstantial evidence against the accused to convict him. He fit the description given by Lees 5 years before he was even a suspect, he was in the vicinity, and very few other people of any description, much less one that matched the accused, had the opportunity to commit this crime. There are plenty of high profile murderers in prison convicted entirely on less *circumstantial* evidence.
I was in the territory immediately after his disappearance (shipping myself) and I remember it well. I was also there a few years later, and met an English tourist. One of the first things he spoke to me about was Falconio's disappearance (years before Murdoch as accused), and one of the first things he said to me was "did everyone in Australia think she did it too?"
The fact is, her story was questioned - and openly mocked in the UK press - because people don't get bailed up, dragged out of their cars and murdered by the side of the road on the A1. Even in sparsely populated South Australia it's hard to hide a body, you need a dis-used bank branch. But in the NT? It's so big and so sparely populated there could be a herd of nocturnal dinosaurs up there and no-one would know.
I'm with you on most things @Valvegear
, but not on this. There was less evidence against Ivan Milat.