A MECHANIC charged with murdering Huddersfield tourist Peter Falconio in the Australian Outback will face a preliminary hearing in May.
Bradley John Murdoch will have to appear before a hearing to determine if he should go to trial, a court has ordered.
Chief Magistrate Hugh Bradley said the committal hearing against Murdoch would begin on May 17 in the Darwin Supreme Court in northern Australia.
More than 60 witnesses are expected to testify in the case in which Murdoch is accused of murdering Peter Falconio, from Hepworth, beside an Outback highway near Barrow Creek, north of the central city of Alice Springs, in July 2001.
Murdoch, 45, who was not required to attend court today, also faces charges including unlawful assault against Mr Falconio's girlfriend Joanne Lees, who told police she was tied up and dumped in the back of a pickup truck driven by her boyfriend's attacker.
Miss Lees, 29, of Almondbury, managed to escape and raise the alarm.
Mr Falconio's body has never been found despite air and land searches by police and the efforts of Aboriginal trackers.
The hunt has been one of the biggest ever mounted by Australian police.
The hearing in May will consider the evidence against him and magistrates will then decide if there is a case to be heard at a crown court.
That trial is not likely to be heard before the winter.