THE judge in the Peter Falconio murder trial in Australia had to interrupt his final address to the jury today after the backpacker's mother hurried from court with her ears covered.
Chief Justice Brian Martin had been referring to evidence about the effect of a gunshot wound to the head.
As Joan Falconio left the courtroom, he urged the jury to set aside emotion when considering their verdict in the trial.
Chief Justice Brian Martin had to pause mid-sentence when Mrs Falconio left the court.
Bradley Murdoch, 47, of Broome, Western Australia, denies murdering Mr Falconio, from Hepworth.
He has also pleaded not guilty to abducting and assaulting Mr Falconio's girlfriend Joanne Lees on a remote stretch of highway near Barrow Creek, about 200 miles north of Alice Springs, on July 14, 2001.
The young couple were allegedly attacked after being flagged down by another motorist at about 8pm on the Stuart Highway, about six miles north of Barrow Creek, north of Alice Springs.
Miss Lees, 32, formerly from Almondbury now living in Brighton, told police she was threatened with a gun to her head, tied up with her hands behind her back and put into the back of her attacker's vehicle but managed to escape from under the loose canopy. The body of Mr Falconio, 28, has never been found.
The judge told the jury
they had to consider whether they could be satisfied, in the absence of a body, whether Mr Falconio was shot and killed.
"Obviously if you have any doubt about that there can't be any question the accused must be acquitted."
But he said: "If you accept Miss Lees's evidence that the accused pulled Mr Falconio and Miss Lees over, then the Crown will have proved that Mr Falconio was killed."
Referring to the evidence of two service station workers who claim they saw a man they believed to be Mr Falconio alive a week after the attack, the judge said the prosecution had suggested they were well-meaning, but mistaken.
The judge went on: "Is there any evidence put before you to suggest anything other than Mr Falconio and Miss Lees were anything other than a normal young couple on a working holiday, planning future trips?"
He said defence counsel had not suggested there was.
"Bear that in mind when considering the implied suggestion that somehow Miss Lees was involved in the disappearance of Mr Falconio."
The judge added that Mr Falconio's passport was found in their camper van, his bank accounts had not been used and there was no evidence of a large insurance claim.
Turning to Miss Lees's identification of Murdoch as her attacker, the judge said that whilst times of "high emotion" could cause confusion, "traumatic events can also stimulate the mind and cause events to remain vivid long after the incident in question."
But he reminded the jury that Miss Lees saw on article on the BBC News website in October 2002 which included an image of Murdoch as the suspect.
A month later, she picked his photograph out from a photoboard of a dozen images during a police interview in the UK.
"You will quickly appreciate that very little weight, if any, can be given to the identification of the accused in the dock," he said.
The judge also told the jury they would need to consider whether Murdoch had the opportunity to be at Barrow Creek at the time of the incident, the vehicle involved and the characteristics of the man driving the four wheel drive.
He said they would also need to consider the evidence about the attacker's dog, the gun, the conduct of the accused, and evidence "tending to connect" Miss Lees and Murdoch, such as his DNA on her blood-stained T-shirt.
The judge also directed the jury as to the evidence given by Murdoch's former business partner James Hepi.
The court heard Mr Hepi was "not a good character", sold cannabis on a commercial basis and believed Murdoch had ripped him off and "dobbed" him in to police.