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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 October 2005, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Lees identifies Falconio 'killer'
Joanne Lees
Miss Lees was asked to show the jury scars from the attack
The girlfriend of missing British backpacker Peter Falconio has stared at his alleged attacker in court and told the jury that he killed her boyfriend.

Joanne Lees, 32, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of Bradley Murdoch in Darwin, Australia.

Asked if she could see the man in the court room, she turned to her right and said "I'm looking at him".

Mr Murdoch, 47, denies murder and attacking and abducting Miss Lees on a deserted Outback road in July 2001.

At that point I just saw that it was a silver gun but he was clearly showing me that he had a gun in his hand
Joanne Lees

Miss Lees, a support worker for people with learning difficulties from Brighton, told the Northern Territory Supreme Court she thought her attacker would kill her.

She said: "I kept shouting for Pete. I thought I was going to die, but mainly I just kept thinking 'I can't believe this is happening'."

She told the court how she asked the attacker if he was going to rape her, adding: "I was more scared of being raped than I was of dying and being shot by the man."

Silver gun

Miss Lees said she and Mr Falconio, 28, from Huddersfield, were travelling in their camper van from Alice Springs to Darwin when they were asked to pull over by the driver of a four-wheel drive vehicle.

I could hear him dragging something. I thought it could be Pete
Joanne Lees

Mr Falconio got out of the van and began talking to the man, then there was a sound like a gunshot and the man appeared at her window holding a gun, Miss Lees said.

"At that point I just saw that it was a silver gun but he was clearly showing me that he had a gun in his hand."

Taking deep breaths and wiping tears from her eyes, Miss Lees told how she was tied up and forced into the man's vehicle.

She said she was screaming and calling to Mr Falconio and, openly crying for the first time during her evidence, she said: "Then the realisation hit me that he might have killed Pete."

'Hiding place'

At this point, she told the court some kind of "inner strength" took over and helped her focus on her escape.

Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio in their camper van
The couple were travelling from Alice Springs to Darwin

Miss Lees said she struggled out of the van and ran away, managing to hide under a bush.

While she was hiding, she told the court: "I could hear him dragging something. I thought it could be Pete."

She waited for "a very long time" before leaving her hiding place and jumping in front of a truck to get the driver's attention.

The trucker and his co-driver cut the handcuffs off and took her to a public house to get help.

The court was shown photographs of her injuries, including cuts, bruises and red marks from where she had been tied up, from where she hit the ground and from running through the bush and scrub.

She was asked to show the scars on her arms to the jurors.

Mr Murdoch, of Broome, Western Australia, also denies charges of kidnapping and assaulting Ms Lees and threatening her with a gun.

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Peter Falconio's family arrive at the court




SEE ALSO
Lees tells of dramatic escape
18 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Falconio lawyer cites DNA links
17 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Lees negotiates first court test
17 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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