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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Falconio mother walks from court
Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio in their camper van
Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio had been driving through the outback
The mother of UK backpacker Peter Falconio walked out of court after seeing images which prosecutors say show a pool of her son's blood.

Joan Falconio left the Australian court when the jury was shown a video and pictures of the alleged crime scene.

The court also heard police did not search the scene properly at the time, and missed important evidence.

Bradley Murdoch, 47, denies murdering Mr Falconio, 28, and attacking and abducting his girlfriend Joanne Lees.

Mr Falconio disappeared after an ambush in the outback in July 2001. His body has never been found.

Mrs Falconio, from Huddersfield, is attending the trial in Darwin, and was sitting in the court's public gallery with her husband Luciano and Miss Lees when the 30-minute video and other photographs were presented to the jury.

The video showed vehicle tracks leading up to the camper van used by Mr Falconio and Miss Lees, 32.

The pair were allegedly attacked after being flagged down by another motorist.

Truck footage

The pictures included an image of a bloodstain found at the spot on the remote Stuart Highway where the prosecution has claimed Mr Falconio was shot dead.

Mrs Falconio turned away from the courtroom screen and left the room every time the images were shown.

(l-r) Luciano Falconio, Paul Falconio, Joanne Lees, Joan Falconio, Nick Falconio
Miss Lees has been attending the hearing with Peter Falconio's family

When the pictures were discussed in detail, she left the court for about an hour, returning after the lunch break with her sons Paul and Nick.

Anthony Elliott, for the prosecution, showed the video to Northern Territory Police's crime scenes officer Ian Spilsbury.

The video started at the Barrow Creek pub with footage of the truck driven by Vince Millar when he rescued Miss Lees after she flagged him down.

It included footage from inside the couple's orange camper van, showing its front seats and a spare can of petrol they kept inside.

It also showed tracks on the floor outside and what appeared to be footprints on the ground, several marked with pink and yellow police markers.

Later a photograph of the bloodstain on the highway, measuring about 12 inches by eight inches, was shown to the Northern Territory Supreme Court.

Further aerial footage, which was taken on 16 July, was also shown to the jury.

'Communication problem'

Mr Spilsbury told the court police had missed pieces of evidence during initial searches of the scene.

They found the lid to the lip balm Miss Lees said she had used to loosen handcuffs with which Mr Murdoch had allegedly restrained her, but did not search the nearby area until three months later.

When police returned to the scene in October, two pieces of black duct tape and a tube of lip balm were found.

The lip balm matched the lid which had been found three months earlier, Mr Spilsbury told the jury.

He admitted there had been a "communication problem" during the original search, with other officers believing he was searching for the lip balm tube while he thought they had looked for it.

The prosecution alleges Mr Murdoch, of Broome, Western Australia, shot Mr Falconio and then threatened Miss Lees, originally from Brighton, and tied her up with her hands behind her back before she managed to escape.

The trial, which is expected to last several weeks, was adjourned until Wednesday.


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