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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 08:40 GMT
Falconio accused 'tailored story'
Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio in their camper van
Peter Falconio's body has never been found
The drug runner accused of murdering British backpacker Peter Falconio had the chance to "tailor his story" to the evidence, an Australian court heard.

Rex Wild QC, prosecuting, told the jury in Darwin trying Bradley Murdoch to remember he heard the prosecution case before giving his own evidence.

"When you think of the evidence, just bear that in mind," he said.

Mr Murdoch denies murdering the Briton and kidnapping and attacking his girlfriend, Joanne Lees, in July 2001.

The 47-year-old is alleged to have shot dead Mr Falconio, 28, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, after flagging down the couple's camper van on a remote stretch of highway, 200 miles north of Alice Springs.

DNA evidence

The court has heard DNA found on the bloodstained T-shirt worn by Miss Lees on the night of the attack was 150 quadrillion (150 million billion) times more likely to have come from Mr Murdoch than from anyone else.

Mr Wild said Mr Murdoch realised an idea that the DNA was planted on Joanne Lees by his own former business partner was crazy.

It's an exact match. It's an astronomical figure
Rex Wild QC

So he gave evidence he went to a Red Rooster restaurant that Mr Falconio and Joanne Lees also attended that day.

Previously, during the closing arguments for the defence, the court heard it was possible Mr Murdoch's blood could have been transferred to Miss Lees' t-shirt then, without them realising.

But on Wednesday, the prosecutor said the DNA match was the "lynchpin" in the case.

"What the database says in this case is the DNA that Bradley Murdoch has matches exactly the DNA that's found in the blood stain, the blood smear on Miss Lees' T-shirt," he said.

"It's an exact match. It's an astronomical figure."

Cables allegedly used to tie up Joanne Lees
DNA was found on an inner layer of tape on the cable ties

DNA likely to come from Mr Murdoch was also found "deep inside" cable ties and on the gear stick of the camper van, he said.

He also told the jury Mr Murdoch was the man caught on CCTV at the Shell truck stop in Alice Springs on the night of the attack.

He said friends and family recognised him and "the way he carries himself."

Although there were numerous people on the Stuart Highway that night, he said not all had a dog, a four-wheel drive, carried a gun and walked with a slight stoop.

Dog description

He also urged the jury to reject evidence which suggested Mr Falconio was still alive a week after the attack.

He addressed inconsistencies in Miss Lees' descriptions of her attacker's dog.

She did not see her attacker's dog for a long period of time, and her description was the "impression" she had, he explained.

Human beings suffer from frailties of observation and of recall
Chief Justice
Brian Martin

Mr Wild said he could suggest only two possible motives - that Mr Murdoch, who was carrying 20lb of cannabis from South to Western Australia told his friend he was being followed and had "dealt" with it.

And, he may have seen Miss Lees driving alone, while her partner slept, earlier in the day.

He said the jury should find that "Peter Falconio died of gun shot wounds from a hand gun fired by Bradley Murdoch".

Beginning his summing up, the judge, Chief Justice Brian Martin, said the jurors had seen a "wonderful kaleidoscope" of characters during the eight-week trial.

"Witnesses are not robots programmed to respond in a particular way," he said.

"Human beings are not like that. Human beings suffer from frailties of observation and of recall."

The trial was adjourned until Friday.

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