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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 09:52 GMT
Lees recalled in Falconio trial
Joanne Lees
Ms Lees' return to the stand was unexpected
Joanne Lees, the girlfriend of British backpacker Peter Falconio, has been recalled to give more evidence at the trial of the man accused of his murder.

After returning to the stand, Miss Lees was challenged about comments made to a police officer a few days after she was attacked on an Outback road in 2001.

Bradley Murdoch is on trial for murder in Darwin, Australia.

Mr Murdoch, 47, denies murdering Mr Falconio, 28, and abducting Miss Lees, 32, on 14 July 2001.

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 re-examination of Miss Lees, from Brighton, East Sussex, was unexpected.

Signature query

She spent nearly half an hour in the witness box while the defence questioned her about the precise nature of comments made to an officer in Alice Springs.

When asked whether she told the female officer, Libby Andrews, about having a "strong feeling" that the gunman's truck had shelving and bottles in the back, she said: "No."

By way of explanation, she added: "It seems to me a description of shelving in my Kombi (camper van)."

Mr Falconio's girlfriend was later shown a copy of the notes with her initials on the back and agreed it was her signature.

But when pressed on how they came to be there, she said: "They are my initials but I don't remember reading them before."

Handcuffs

Miss Lees also insisted that she did not talk to the officer about the truck, only the police artist who drew the vehicle.

Earlier in the trial Miss Lees told the court she escaped from her boyfriend's killer by jumping out of his vehicle and hiding in a bush.

She also gave a demonstration of how she freed herself from makeshift handcuffs.

Miss Lees' re-examination came shortly before the prosecution were expected to wind up their case against Mr Murdoch.

The trial continues.


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