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Last Updated: Friday, 21 October 2005, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Lees found 'distraught' in road
Joanne Lees
Miss Lees was 'in a state of panic', the court heard
A truck driver found the girlfriend of missing UK backpacker Peter Falconio "shaking and shivering" after she was attacked, a court has heard.

Rodney Adams said Joanne Lees, 32, was "distraught, in a state of panic" when he found her in July 2001 with her hands bound in the middle of the road.

The Australian court has heard how she was attacked and tied up by her boyfriend's alleged killer.

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

Mr Adams said he was a sleeping passenger in the cab when driver Vince Millar came across Miss Lees and was woken when the truck suddenly stopped.

There was a small conversation, she kept asking about her boyfriend
Rodney Adams

"I could see her hands were bound," Mr Adams told the Northern Territory Supreme Court in Darwin.

"She had tape round her neck. She also had tape round one ankle."

After he and Mr Millar removed the tape, he realised Miss Lees was in a state of "possible shock", he said.

"There was a small conversation, she kept asking about her boyfriend."

The tow truck drivers searched for missing Mr Falconio and the couple's camper van, Mr Adams said.

But after Miss Lees had mentioned a gun, they headed south to Barrow Creek to get help, he added.

'Amongst friends'

When they arrived at the Barrow Creek pub, Mr Adams said Miss Lees would not leave the cab.

Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio in their camper van
The prosecution alleges Mr Murdoch shot Mr Falconio

"I said we were amongst friends here, we wouldn't be stopped here if we weren't," Mr Adams said.

After finally coaxing her out of the truck she stayed very close to him, he added.

"You would say that it was a father-daughter relationship with the closeness of her (to me) when she walked in."

The court also heard from the owner of the Barrow Creek pub, Les Pilton, who said he helped to persuade Miss Lees to come in.

"She was welling up in her face, sort of like puffed up," he said.

"I saw some tears in her eyes but she didn't let herself openly cry."

He had asked Miss Lees if she would like to use the phone to call her parents, "but she said she just couldn't at that stage".

She had agreed to take a rest in a room at the pub but returned after 20 minutes because she could not sleep, he said.

Upon arrival, police officers took over looking after Miss Lees, he added.

Family exit

Earlier, the court heard how Pamela Brown, of the nearby community of Ti Tree, saw "a big white vehicle" pull on to the highway, north of Barrow Creek, before passing a camper van on the opposite side of the road with its headlights off.

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 that night.

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.

At the end of Friday's proceedings, the fifth day of the trial, Miss Lees walked out of the court with Mr Falconio's parents, Joan and Luciano, and brothers Nick and Paul.

She kissed Luciano Falconio and Mrs Falconio on the cheek in front of photographers and TV crews before leaving the area in a police car.

The trial was adjourned until Monday.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Joanna Lees outside court



SEE ALSO:
Timeline: Falconio murder trial
21 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Lees demonstrates Outback escape
20 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Lees 'positive' she picked killer
19 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Lees identifies Falconio 'killer'
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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