BACKPACKER Joanne Lees today relived the last poignant moments with her boyfriend before he was murdered.
The Almondbury woman told a court her boyfriend Peter Falconio disappeared after they were pulled over by a motorist on a lonely road in Australia's Northern Territory.
In a quiet, composed voice, Miss Lees told how she and Mr Falconio had smoked marijuana and watched the sunset at Ti Tree, before heading north on their fateful journey.
"We chatted and sat and watched the sunset," she said.
"It was beautiful."
Miss Lees was giving evidence in the committal hearing in Darwin, Australia, against 45-year-old mechanic Bradley John Murdoch, who is charged with the murder of 28-year-old Peter Falconio, of Hepworth.
She said a man in a white four-wheel-drive vehicle stopped the tourist couple on the Stuart Highway on July 14, 2001.
He had indicated there were sparks coming from their exhaust.
Mr Falconio went to the back of the vehicle "to investigate", and asked her to rev the engine so he could check the exhaust.
"I heard a bang, like the sound of a vehicle backfiring, like the sound of a gunshot," Miss Lees told Darwin Magistrates' Court.
"I turned around to look through the window and I saw a man standing there with a gun."
Miss Lees said she never saw Mr Falconio again.
Miss Lees, with her hair tied back and wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and black skirt, told the court her arms were bound, that she was punched in the right temple and that a canvas sack was placed over her head.
She later escaped.
Murdoch, who has not entered a plea, is also charged with the unlawful assault and deprivation of liberty of Miss Lees, who is now 30.
In an earlier court session, the magistrate heard a statement from Miss Lees, in which she said she feared she was going to be raped and killed in an ambush.
In the dramatic statement, read to a hushed court, the Huddersfield tourist said: "I thought I was going to die."
The disappearance and suspected killing of Falconio, who has not been seen since the incident on July 14, 2001, is one of Australia's most perplexing unsolved crimes.
Security guards flanked Murdoch as he sat in a specially designed court room in the northern port city of Darwin for the committal hearing that is expected to last six weeks.
Prosecutor Rex Wild said the man dumped Miss Lees in the back of his truck. Despite the handcuffs, she managed to escape by sliding off the back of the vehicle when it started moving. She hid in the desert scrub for several hours until she felt sure he had gone.
At the end of the current hearing, magistrate Alasdair McGregor will decide whether evidence is strong enough to merit a full jury trial.