JOANNE Lees eyeballed Bradley Murdoch from the moment she walked into the body of Court 6 in Darwin's Supreme Court building.
She gazed at him all the way to the witness box, but Murdoch looked at the floor.
It was a moment of pure theatre, the sort of confrontation millions had waited for since the July night three years ago when Australians first heard of a shocking roadside murder and abduction in the remote Outback.
Miss Lees had at last come face-to- face in court with the man accused of murdering her boyfriend, Peter Falconio, from Hepworth, in 2001 and assaulting and depriving her of her liberty.
The 30-year-old Almondbury woman paused only to whisper "Hi" to Paul Falconio, one of her boyfriend's three brothers, as she entered the court.
Those physically closest to her as she recounted her night of horror were her three-man support team.
All sat at one end of the three-tiered jury box - Paul Falconio at the front, his older brother, Nick, in the middle and, at the back, Peter Falconio's friend from university days, Mark Sanders.
The rest of the jury box was filled with reporters covering the committal hearing in front of a magistrate.
Miss Lees looked like an efficient secretary, well-groomed in a neatly pressed white blouse and black knee-length skirt, with her dark hair in a ponytail.
She spoke in a voice so soft that prosecutor Rex Wild QC several times had to ask her to speak up, despite the high-tech court's amplification system.
At one point, magistrate Alasdair McGregor suggested she take a sip of water.
Miss Lees, who now lives and works in Brighton, often had to clear her throat.
She maintained her composure almost the whole afternoon.
But she came close to tears once as she recounted how scared she was after escaping from the gunman and hiding under a bush in the cold, pitch-black desert night.
"I didn't think it was safe (to come out)," she said. "But I thought I would have to be brave to get some help for Pete."
Miss Lees spent 95 minutes reliving her nightmare.
Although most of those present knew her story in fine detail, the courtroom was so still you could hear the pages of notebooks turning.
At one point she was asked to stand up and turn around in the witness box, to show how her wrists had been bound behind her back with electrical tape.
When her ordeal was over for the day she was allowed to leave the court before anyone else.
She did not look at Bradley Murdoch on the way out.
Murdoch, flanked by two guards behind a security glass panel, shook his head as she left.
The magistrate told Miss Lees she would be required to continue giving evidence tomorrow.
His last words to her took the form of avuncular advice: "In the meantime, try to think of something else."