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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Lees demonstrates outback escape
Joanne Lees is escorted from the court by two police officers
Miss Lees re-enacted her escape for the jury
The girlfriend of missing UK backpacker Peter Falconio has re-enacted her escape from the man she claims killed her boyfriend and held her captive.

Joanne Lees, 32, showed a court in Darwin, Australia, how she moved her tied hands from her back, to her front.

She also denied that a picture on the BBC News website had influenced her identification of her alleged attacker.

Bradley Murdoch, 47, denies killing Mr Falconio, 28, and abducting Miss Lees in July 2001.

During the demonstration at the Northern Territory Supreme Court, Miss Lees' hands were tied behind her back with a blue tie from a friend who accompanied her to the court.

She sat on the floor of the court, with her back to the defendant and facing the jury, and moved her bound hands from behind her back to in front of her within seconds.

We've got a bit of a Sheila out here and she's all tied up, mate
Vince Millar

As Miss Lees was freed by her friend, the judge told the jury: "Ladies and gentlemen, please understand that is not a recreation of the precise circumstances because the ties were not used.

"But it is there as a demonstration for you of the situation of moving her hands from the back to the front with no more movement between the wrists than there was on the night."

'Sheila jumped out'

The court has heard how Miss Lees, originally from Brighton, and Mr Falconio, from Huddersfield, were attacked after being flagged down by another motorist as they drove from Alice Springs to Darwin.

The prosecution alleges Mr Murdoch shot Mr Falconio before threatening Miss Lees with a gun to her head and tying her up with her hands behind her back, before she made her escape.

The scene of the alleged murder and attack
Ms Lees claims she hid in the scrub for hours after escaping
She said she hid in the scrub for several hours before flagging down a vehicle.

Vince Millar, the driver of the road train that rescued Miss Lees, gave evidence to the court on Thursday.

He said the woman had jumped out around 20 yards in front of his truck, which had three trailers.

He said he swerved to avoid her but it took him around a kilometre (0.6 miles) to stop and he thought he had hit her.

"I was just driving along, as you do, and this sheila jumped out in front of my truck. Her hands were together above her head.

"As she sort of jumped out, it was all very quick."

Earlier, under cross-examination at the court, Miss Lees was asked if she thought a picture on the BBC News website of a suspect influenced her identification of Mr Murdoch.

She said: "No. I would recognise him anywhere.

"At the end of the day I was there, I know what happened and I don't need to read it from the press."

Timings issue

She was also asked if she had any recollection of seeing Mr Murdoch at about 1300 local time at the Red Rooster restaurant in Alice Springs, where she shared her last meal with Mr Falconio.

"I don't recall seeing him and I don't recall the Red Rooster being busy," she said.

Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio in their camper van
Mr Falconio's body has never been found

Miss Lees was also questioned about the timing of the events that led up to the alleged attack, which happened at about 2000 local time.

The court heard that she thought she had left Alice Springs at 1600 or 1630.

This would not have enabled her and Mr Falconio to travel to Ti Tree - a distance of 197km - by 1830 if they had been travelling at around 55mph, suggested Grant Algie, for the defence.

"I'm not very good with kilometres and miles per hour," she said.

"I was just driving at the speed the Kombi (camper van) drove at."

Mr Algie suggested it was more likely she had left at about 1430.

The trial was adjourned until Friday.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Joanne Lees arriving at court in Darwin



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