Lees shows unity with Falconio's family at trial

Sheleft the Northern Territory Supreme Court in Darwin tightly surrounded by Mr Falconio's family and stopped to kiss both his parents on the cheek in front of media crews. It was the first time she has left the court, where Bradley Murdoch is on trial for her missing boyfriend's murder, with all four members of the Falconio family at her side.

Earlier, on the fifth day of the trial, Pamela Brown, from the small community of Ti Tree, told how she had seen a "big white vehicle" pull on to the remote Stuart Highway on the night Mr Falconio disappeared.

Mrs Brown said she then saw an orange camper van parked further along the road, with its lights off. She said she did not see anybody outside the van.

Earlier, Rodney Adams, the truck driver who was asleep in the cab when his colleague Vince Millar came across Ms Lees, described her as shocked, with cuts and abrasions. He said they started searching for Mr Falconio, but when Ms Lees mentioned the attacker had a gun, the two drivers decided to head south to Barrow Creek to get help.

Les Pilton, the owner of the Barrow Creek roadhouse, said he went out to the truck to help persuade the woman to come into the pub. "She was cowering away under Rodney's arm as we were walking in. I saw tears in her eyes but she didn't let herself openly cry."

He said police from Ti Tree and Alice Springs arrived around 4.20am.

Mr Murdoch, 47, of Broome, Western Australia, deniesmurdering Mr Falconio and abducting and assaulting Ms Lees after flagging down their camper van near Alice Springs on 14 July 2001. The trial was adjourned until Monday, when Mrs Brown will be cross-examined.

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