THE girlfriend of Huddersfield backpacker Peter Falconio was hypnotised to try to dredge up more evidence for police hunting the killer, a policewoman told a court today.
Australian mechanic Bradley John Murdoch is accused of murdering Mr Falconio, from Hepworth, on July 14, 2001.
He also faces charges of abducting and assaulting Mr Falconio's girlfriend, Joanne Lees, from Almondbury.
Murdoch, 45, is facing a hearing in Darwin to establish if evidence against him is strong enough to send to a jury trial.
The court heard Miss Lees was hypnotised in the weeks after the alleged murder. Supt Jeanette Kerr said it was an attempt to try to get more information from Miss Lees.
It was unclear if investigators gained any information from Miss Lees under hypnosis.
Earlier, the court heard Murdoch's former girlfriend tell how he altered his appearance and made changes to his Toyota Landcruiser after returning home from an Australian Outback trip in mid-2001.
Murdoch was also sick for a week after returning from the journey, Beverley Allan recalled.
Ms Allan, 42, said she was convinced Murdoch was the man in a newspaper picture about the murder.
The photo, taken from security camera footage at a service station, was of a man with a four-wheel drive vehicle who was wanted for questioning over the murder.
Ms Allan said: "I was pretty convinced that it was him on the front page and it was his vehicle. He sat me down and continued to point out all the differences with the vehicle.
"It concerned me because it just looked like him. I just remember the way that ... he held himself, his posture. He'd had a phone call from his father as well ... he told his father it wasn't him."
Fidgeting and smiling throughout her brief testimony, the slightly built blonde barely glimpsed at Murdoch as he sat in the dock on the other side of the courtroom, just yards away.
She told the court how Murdoch would regularly go on trips, including to South Australia, with his dog Jack in his Toyota Landcruiser for a week or more at a time.
She recounted how, after one trip in mid-2001 - around the time Mr Falconio disappeared - Murdoch returned "fairly strung out".
"He told me that it hadn't been a good trip. (He'd had) a few dramas," she said.
He believed someone was following him ..., that he had to find out who was following him and he had to deal with it."
Murdoch also said he had to come home "the long way" because he'd run into a road block set up after Mr Falconio went missing.
Ms Allan said Murdoch was sick for about a week after returning from the trip, suffering from the flu.
He had also changed his appearance by shaving off his moustache and cutting his hair, and then had work done to his Landcruiser, including installing a new canopy.
The hearing continues.