Andrew Denton interviews Joanne Lees on 'enough rope' on ABC TV - October 2006
Joanne Lees is strapped for cash and needs the money she has made from her book and television interviews, ABC presenter Andrew Denton says. Denton's interview with Lees will screen tomorrow night, with the ABC presenter certain she is hiding nothing about the death of her boyfriend Peter Falconio. Some still doubt what happened when English tourists Falconio and Lees were pulled over on a Northern Territory highway in July 2001, with Bradley Murdoch subsequently found guilty of Falconio's murder. The fact that Lees, who escaped from Murdoch's clutches, has made a reported £250,000 ($631,792) from a book deal and serialisation rights, and another £50,000 from a television interview, has raised further questions with some. However Denton says the interview discusses that revenue, and he believes Lees needed the money. "I ask her about that, and you have to remember her life has been totally interrupted by this, she couldn't earn a living, she is struggling financially," Denton said.
"She wrote the book specifically because she wanted to set the record straight, because there is so much innuendo and speculation, even though no one has spoken to Joanne." Denton says such innuendo is fuelled by the media "profit motive" to stir up rumour. "She's copped, and continues to cop, extremely unfair treatment, because it's beyond doubt she didn't murder her boyfriend," Denton said. "What has happened to her since is almost as shocking as what happened on that night, and the lack of thought and lack of compassion is beyond belief. "She was hung out to dry in the court of public opinion, but I have rarely done an interview where there was less grey area."
Denton said Lees's manner may have contributed to conspiracy theories about the case, as she - like Lindy Chamberlain 20 years earlier - did not grieve openly enough, but Denton says the interview shows her mourning for Falconio is real. "She wasn't appropriately grief-stricken for people, which is hugely unfair because everyone mourns differently," Denton said. "At the time her mother was ill, and later died, and this was a girl who was trying to protect herself and her mum. "What was interpreted as someone being cold and unemotional was in fact someone being very strong, and that is the strength that allowed her to survive. "There is a very poignant moment in the interview when she talks about Peter, how she remembers Peter, and I defy anyone not to be moved by it." Lees's previous television interview saw British journalist Martin Bashir directly ask her if she killed Falconio, but Denton uses a less brusque technique to coax her to relax. "She's a curious mix of a very strong woman and a very fragile woman, but I've never done an interview with someone who less enjoyed being in the public eye," Denton said. "This is not a person that will be seeking the limelight after this."
Listen to the interview by clicking the black arrow underneath
Download the Interview transcript by clicking on the link below
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