A HUDDERSFIELD woman has flown halfway round the world to seek justice.
Joanne Lees, the girlfriend of Hepworth backpacker Peter Falconio, who the authorities believe was murdered in the Australian Outback three years ago, said she wanted the man accused of the crime to receive a fair hearing. Miss Lees, formerly from Almondbury, arrived in Darwin, Northern Territory, for the May 17 hearing for Bradley John Murdoch.
She looked tired as she stepped off the flight, to be met by four armed response officers, who bundled her into a car and whisked her off to a police safe house.
The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence against Murdoch to merit a trial.
Murdoch is also accused of abducting Miss Lees, who now lives and works in Brighton.
"I want Bradley Murdoch to receive a fair committal hearing, as I believe this is the only way justice can prevail," Miss Lees said in a five-paragraph statement released by prosecutors.
Murdoch is charged with killing Mr Falconio in July, 2001, on an Outback highway near the central Australian town of Alice Springs.
His body has never been found, despite searches employing everything from spotters in helicopters to Aboriginal trackers and even clairvoyants.
Prosecution spokeswoman Jane Munday gave no details of what Miss Lees would be doing in the week before the hearing.
In her statement, Miss Lees, who will be the star prosecution witness, said she was preparing for the hearing.
"Accompanying me is Mark Sanders. He is not my boyfriend, but one of Pete's best friends, who studied with him at Brighton University," she added.
She also said she would abide by a request from prosecutors not to conduct any media interviews while the case was in court.
Members of Mr Falconio's family have not yet arrived in Australia. But his brother, Paul, is expected to be at next week's hearing.
Forty 40 witnesses will give evidence in the three- week hearing, which will then adjourn until August.