THE brother of a missing Huddersfield backpacker will be among about 40 witnesses to give evidence at a pre-trial hearing later this month for an Australian drifter accused of murder.
Bradley John Murdoch is charged with killing Peter Falconio, of Hepworth, near Huddersfield, in July 2001 on an Outback highway near the central Australian town of Alice Springs.
Falconio's body has never been found and his brother - Paul Falconio - will testify at Murdoch's hearing that his family has not heard from the missing backpacker since the time of the alleged killing, said prosecutor Anthony Elliott.
Elliott told Darwin Magistrates' Court that about 40 witnesses will testify at a lengthy hearing due to start in Darwin on May 17. Statements from 30 other witnesses will also be presented to the court.
A magistrate will listen to the evidence and decide if it is strong enough to put Murdoch on trial.
He faces life imprisonment if convicted of the murder.
Peter Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees, is expected to testify at the hearing. Murdoch is also charged with abducting her at the same time as Falconio's disappearance.
Police said Mr Falconio and Miss Lees, of Almondbury, were driving through the Outback north of Alice Springs when they stopped after being signalled by another driver on the road.
Miss Lees told police Falconio went to the back of the couple's camper van and she heard a gunshot.
She said she was then grabbed, tied up and dumped in a pickup truck.
But she managed to wriggle free and hid in bushes near the remote highway for hours before flagging down a passing truck and raising the alarm.
Despite a huge search involving police in helicopters and on motorcycles, and even Aboriginal trackers, Mr Falconio's body and his attacker were not found. Murdoch was arrested and cleared months later on unrelated rape charges.