The Killer? I'm Looking at Him Now; Court Drama as Girlfriend Faces Man Accused of Outback Murder
Byline: RICHARD SHEARS
JOANNE Lees came face to face with the man accused of killing her boyfriend yesterday and dramatically identified him as the Outback murderer.
She choked on her words and broke down in tears as she told a jury of her terror that the gunman she believed had shot Peter Falconio was about to rape and kill her.
But the tears stopped and she glared as she was asked whether she recognised their attacker in the court.
'Do you see that man here today?' the prosecuting counsel asked her.
'Yes,' she said, 'I am looking at him.' She stared at Bradley John Murdoch for several seconds while he shook his head, indicating he was not the man.
Then she mouthed the words at him: 'Yes you were.' Murdoch, a 47-year-old drug runner and mechanic, denies murdering 28-year-old Mr Falconio and assaulting and attempting to kidnap Miss Lees while they toured the Northern Territory in July, 2001. Mr Falconio's body has never been found.
Miss Lees told the Darwin courtroom how the couple had pulled over in their campervan when a motorist signalled there was a problem with their vehicle.
Shortly after Mr Falconio got out of the car, she heard him say: 'Cheers, mate - thanks for stopping.' She heard a bang and then the man was at the side window, pointing a gun at her.
'I kept thinking, "This isn't happening to me"', she told the court. ' "I can't believe this is happening." I felt alone, I kept shouting for Peter. I thought I was going to die.' The judge asked how she felt after the gunman bound her with a pair of crude handcuffs.
'It all happened quite quickly from being tied up to being on the ground because I was fighting so much,' she said. …