Day 3 of the Daniel Morcombe Murder trial

4.55pm: Sen-Constable Lyons said a long bone was found and labelled BS13 at 8am on August 21, 2011.

He said an hour later a long bone that was labelled BS14 was found.

The jury was shown a photo that depicted the bone with the topsoil removed using gardening implements.

He said searchers found a smaller bone fragment at 9.02am on September 1, 2011.

Later that same day, Sen-Constable Lyons said another long bone was found, labelled BS19.

He said the search had concentrated in a northerly direction between the lake and the embankment, towards the sandy berm.

He said a number of bones, some later identified to be vertebrae, were found together on September 3, 2011.

“They were all found within a metre or half a metre of each other,’’ Sen-Constable Lyons said.

He said more bones were found about 8m from the water at 7.48am on September 4, 2011

A photograph shown to the jury showed a tree-marked view, pocked with the bright orange of the SES uniforms, and several scattered yellow cones, numbered to identify points of interest on the ground where bones were found.

He said that morning three more items of bones were discovered, including tiny pieces of bone fragments.

3.50pm: The 11th witness at the trial is Sen-Constable Murray Scott Lyons, who works with the Sunshine Coast Water Police.

He said he arrived at the search area off Kings Rd to be the assistant to the search and rescue mission co-ordinator on August 14, 2011.

Sen-Constable Lyons said he spent most of his time in search area 2, the old sand mining property.

He said he was involved in the search near the embankment, using metal detectors to look for a fob watch and a wallet, but nothing was found.

He said north of the ladder off the embankment was a swamp area that was searched by SES volunteers on their hands and knees.

He said they were shown animal bones that had been left out in the elements so they knew what to look for.

He said they were also told to look for a fob watch, a wallet and clothing.

“Anything out of ordinary in that area, they were advised to notify us,’’ he said.

Sen-Constable Lyons said a second shoe was found at 9.10am on August 20, 2011.

The jury was shown a number of photos detailing where the left shoe was found and excavated by forensic police.

He said searchers found two pieces of bone after lunch that same day.

Sen-Constable Lyons told the jury the SES volunteer found two pieces of bone that were identified at the time as belonging to an animal.

“There were, on that day, a number of small strands of material that came from the swamp that were brought to my attention by the SES,’’ he said.

“They had the appearance of hair but were found to be matter from organic tree roots, very fine tree roots.’’

3pm:  The 10th witness in the trial is Robert John Barkle, an SES volunteer from Burnett Heads, who took part in the search for Daniel Morcombe’s body.

He said he was at the crime scene off Kings Rd at the Glass House Mountains when he found a bone at 11.15am on September 10, 2011.

The jury saw a photograph of thin tree trunks and red, fallen pine needles and leaf litter.

SES volunteers wearing bright orange clothing were visible between the trees.

Mr Barkle said he found a bone that was labelled BS24 by police.

The ninth witness in the trial is Drewe Gowen, a farmer who owns the macadamia farm off Kings Rd that was searched by police.

He said the property had been in his family for around 25 years.

Mr Gowen said the lot featured rows of macadamia trees, an old shed, tobacco drying sheds and a large mango tree that used to have a demountable building and a fibro shed beneath it.

The demountable building was moved off the property in early 2006.

Mr Gowen said the carpet that used to be inside the demountable building had been buried, along with other sheds that were destroyed on the property.

The jury was shown a photo of the demountable building, raised slightly with a small patio, curtains in the windows and rubbish bins out the front, as it would have looked in 2001.

2.45pm: The eighth witness at the trial is Dr Dadna Hartman, chief molecular biologist at the Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine.

She said she was experienced in the extraction of mitochondrial DNA.

Dr Hartman said she received bone samples and reference samples from Queensland police from which to extract DNA sequences.

She said the profile samples from Denise Morcombe and Bradley Morcombe were compared.

Her laboratory received a sample of bone, a left humerus (upper arm bone), on August 29, 2011.

“Our practice is to look at the bone sample first; once we are confident we have mitochondrial DNA for analysis, we then do the reference samples,’’ she said.

She said it was expected related family members would share the same mitochondrial DNA.

“That is what we found, the profiles were identical,’’ she said.

1pm: The seventh witness is Rocco Venturiello, a farmer whose family has owned 30 acres at Lot 1, 510 Kings Rd at the Glass House Mountains since the 1980s.

He said the property was once used as a sand mining site.

Mr Venturiello said a man with a temporary sawmill ran an operation in the late 1990s from the property and sand-blasting took place in around 2006.

He said he visited the site once every few months, “just to see if there was anyone down there”.

Mr Venturiello said he was out of the country in December 2003 and returned in January2004.

He said there had been flooding on his land, including in January 2011.

“That was quite a high one,” Mr Venturiello said.

12.55pm: Barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, asked Dr Peter Ellis, a specialist forensic pathologist employed by Queensland Health, if a person was put into a “choke hold” from behind and there was a cracking noise, what might have caused it.

“Unless the force around the neck is such that it actually breaks the cervical spine?” Dr Ellis said.

In re-examination, Crown prosecutor Glen Cash asked Dr Ellis whether a vasovagal arrest was likely in the “choke-hold” position.

“Depends entirely on how the choke hold is applied,” he said.

Mr Cash asked whether pressures leading to the compression of the neck of a child aged 13 to 14 could lead to death.

“It could do,” Dr Ellis said.

Dr Ellis said it would take minutes of continued pressure to reach the point of irreversible brain damage.

Mr Cash asked Dr Ellis how much force would be required to kill if an adult male had a 13 to 14-year-old child in a “choke hold”.

“That depends entirely on how it’s applied, whether it’s done in a twisting motion, or a bending motion,” he said.

“Martial arts experts would tell you it’s easy to do, if you know how to do it.”

12.35pm: Peter Ellis, a specialist forensic pathologist employed by Queensland Health, said he conducted a skeletal survey of the bones found.

The jury was shown a photo of the bones laid out across a green cloth in the positions were they would have been in a human body.

He said the bones were kept separately until determinations were made that they came from the same person.

Dr Ellis said some bones were sent for testing in tubes, leaving fragments rather than whole bones.

“The laboratories that did the testing had the samples in tubes and processed them in the way that they did and we were sent the tubes back when they were finalised,” he said.

During cross-examination, barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, asked Dr Ellis how long itwould take for a person to lose consciousness if their airway was compressed.

“If you do that to someone who is not expecting that and they can’t make that preparation and fight more, you’ll find they lose consciousness more quickly,” he said.

Mr Edwards asked whether it would take four minutes for brain damage to affect a person.

“Yes, it is usually about four minutes before irreversible damage occurs,” Dr Ellis said.

“If the interruption of supply of oxygen persists then you can say death will occur in a small number of minutes.”

Mr Angus: “If what stopped the breathing was compression of the neck structures, how long would that take?”

Dr Ellis: “You can’t put a time on it, it’s not something you can switch on or switch off, a small number of minutes.”

He said it would vary from individual to individual.

Mr Angus asked whether “neck blood occlusion” would cause unconsciousness more quickly.

Dr Ellis said it would occur almost instantly if both carotid arteries were blocked at once, in seconds.

Mr Angus asked whether there was a third area, vasovagal arrest, that could affect neck compression.

Dr Ellis said it could cause death, depending on the circumstances.

“For you to drop dead it would depend if they were actually damaged or whether somebody had just massaged the nerves,” he said.

“If one uses force to actually damage the nerve then that person may not come around.”

He said the vasovagal nerves ran down each side of the neck.

12.25pm: The sixth witness is Peter Stephen Joseph Ellis, a specialist forensic pathologist employed by Queensland Health, and also an adjunct professor at Griffith University.

He said he was called to the crime scenes off Kings Rd that were searched by police up to four times in August, 2011.

“On one of those four occasions I observed bones at the ground before they were retrieved,” Dr Ellis said.

He said 17 bones were found at the site and included whole and partial bones.

He said the bones found included: a left humerus or upper-arm bone, left scapular or shoulder blade, right humerus, right radius or forearm bone, part of the left and right pelvis, left thigh bone or femur, left tibia and fibula or lower leg bones, right femur or thigh bone and right tibia or shin bone, five vertebrae from the lower back, some pieces that looked a little bit like ribs.

He said there was another set of bone fragments that couldn’t be identified.

“The arm bones and the leg bones that I’ve described of course tend to be fairly long, they were still intact … but the ends were not complete, because they are still growing bones, the ends tend to be soft,” he said.

“The surface of the bones themselves were fairly dry, as you would expect bones that have been in the ground to be for some time.”

He said some of the bones showed tiny marks and scratches.

“From my observation, they looked more like either the marks of animal teeth possibly even the efforts of excavation or removal because it was done with implements and may have touched the surface of the bone,” he said.

Dr Ellis said there was no soft flesh on the bones.

“All the bones were of one particular type and that very, very strongly suggests that there’s only one person,” he said.

He said the bones likely came from a young, growing human between 10 and 15-years-old.

Dr Ellis said he could not identify the gender of the individual.

He said the skull was never found.

Dr Ellis said it was not possible to form a view on how the person died.

12.15pm: The fifth witness to be called is SES volunteer Ross Tennesse, from Rosemount, on the Sunshine Coast.

He was searching in a line formation at an area called “The Mudpit” at one of the properties off Kings Rd at the Glass House Mountains.

Mr Tennesse said he had to search on his hands and knees when he saw something on August 17, 2011.

“Yes, in the course of the search, approximately two feet in front of me I saw what appeared to be a sandshoe sticking out of the ground,’’ he said.

12.05pm: Dr Jeremy James Austin, a research scientist at the University of Adelaide, said he was asked by Queensland police to assess human remains for the presence of mitochondrial DNA and to analyse them.

He said he received a humerus for sampling and testing in order to develop a mitochondrial DNA profile on August 23, 2011.

Dr Austin said he was given blood samples, called reference samples, from the Morcombe family to compare the profiles on August 24, 2011.

“The mitochondrial DNA profile from the bone sample was a 100 per cent match to Denise Morcombe and to the sons, Dean and Bradley Morcombe,’’ he said.

He said there was no match with the profile from Bruce Morcombe.

Dr Austin said that was expected because MT DNA was inherited only from the mother.

He said he was unable to obtain a “Y chromosome” profile from the humerus, which could have been compared with other males.

11.55am: The fourth witness is Dr Jeremy James Austin, a research scientist at the University of Adelaide, experienced in the detection and analysis of mitochondrial DNA.

“Since about 2007 I have focused specifically on extracting and characterising mitochondrial DNA from human remains for the purpose of forensic identification,’’ he said.

He said mitochondrial DNA (or MT DNA) was one of two kinds of DNA found in humans and animals, found only inside the mitochondria.

He said MT DNA was only inherited from mothers.

He said the other kind of DNA type, called nuclear DNA, was inherited from both parents.

Dr Austin said a short segment of the MT DNA molecule could be sequenced and compared with other individuals to see if they shared the same maternal ancestry.

“One of the advantages of mitochondrial DNA is it tends to survive for a much longer time in degraded samples,” he said.

11.15am: During cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan,Sunshine Coast District Forensic Co-ordinator Inspector Arthur Van Panhuis told the jury the first entry point was the area where police were told Cowan took Daniel Morcombe’s body.

He said it was the same area depicted in photographs of the embankment featuring a ladder leading down to the site.

Insp Van Panhuis agreed no bones or items of interest were found in the precise area Cowan had pointed out to police, near the first entry point and a small pond.

Mr Edwards asked how far it was between the “cluster” where most of the bones were found and the pond area.

“I would say approximately 50m to 75m,” Insp Van Panhuis said.

He said water had broken through the embankment from Coochin Creek, depositing sand.

Insp Van Panhuis there were substantial numbers of SES volunteers working at the site, about “10 to 20”.

11.05am:  Insp Van Panhuis said a trench was dug in order to determine the soil layers at the search site.

He said on October 12, 2011 the second crime scene finished and was returned to the property owner.

The search was exceptionally intensive,” Insp Van Panhuis said.

He said searchers walked on foot, used metal detectors and cadaver dogs and employed specialists to come and search a well found on one of the properties off Kings Rd.

He said some 500m3 of sand was shifted.

“We used specialist police divers, they searched an area of approximately 15m from the water’s edge,” he said.

He said many items were recovered.

Insp Van Panhuis said the shoe was given to a podiatrist, Dr Paul Bennett to examine at a later stage.

He said a matching left shoe labelled “BS10” was found on August 20, 2011.

Insp Van Panhuis said a piece of bone was found the same day, labelled BS13.

He said on August 30, 2011 an excavation took place near the tobacco drying sheds at the first crime scene, near to where a demountable building had been removed.

Insp Van Panhuis said searchers looked for carpet that was once inside the demountable building that had been dumped and buried.

He said the carpet was found and analysed.

He said there was evidence of wild dogs, goannas and other native animals moving through the search area, including what appeared to be a fox den.

Insp Van Panhuis said the den was excavated but no items of interest were found.

10:55am:  Insp Van Panhuis said around 1m of sand was moved from the berm at the search site in order to get to the expected ground level in 2003.

“The searchers were on hands and knees, shoulder to shoulder, they had little garden implements… and they searched through the litter layer first for anything visible and then they dug down to 15cm,’’ he said.

He said a right shoe was found on August 17, 2011 at 2.25pm and identified for forensic purposes as “BS3’’.

The jury was shown a photo of the area where the shoe was found, surrounded by three yellow tags.

Another, closer image, showed the shoe partially buried under grey mud and surrounded by fallen pine needles.

The jury was told that after some leaf litter and soil was removed, the brand name “Globe” became visible on the side of the shoe.

10.35am: Sunshine Coast District Forensic Co-ordinator Inspector Arthur Van Panhuis said the images on the computer program depicted how the search area appeared when he arrived to co-ordinate the search in August, 2011.

“We had a lot of leaf litter on top of the ground, a lot of small trees, small bushes,” he said.

He said a “slide” was put in down a steep embankment at the search site, made of corrugated iron and fixed with sandbags.

“Just to make it safer for our workers to get there,” Insp Panhuis said.

He said the search was conducted to a depth of 10 to 15cm but near the sandy berm went down as far as 1m.

“We employed the services of a number of specialists, a professor of water science … who was consulted to provide us with water flows of the area and morphology of the area,” he said.

“Our objective was to search the land and area to the level that we considered it was in 2003 and possibly a bit lower.”

10.30am: Sunshine Coast District Forensic Co-ordinator Inspector Arthur Van Panhuis told a jury in the Supreme Court of Brisbane piles of logs found at the crime scenes off Kings Rd at the Glass House Mountains were shifted during the search for Daniel Morcombe’s body in August, 2011.

The jury was shown a 3D police system on computer screens that detailed 360 degree views of the key locations in the crime scenes.

A mouse was used to click on various sites on the system in order to hone in on a particular area of interest from the search.

The program revealed dynamic images of the bushland and steep topography at the search sites.

It also showed a chain-line of SES workers negotiating the bushland and crate pallets laid down end-to-end to make an easy access point to the water.

“This is the smaller body of water here, the larger body of water is back here and these are the sandbags and a walkway put there by SES and the police,” Insp Van Panhuis told the jury.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe arrive at the Supreme Court in Brisbane today for the murder trial of Brett Cowan for the death of their son Daniel Morcombe.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe arrive at the Supreme Court in Brisbane today for the murder trial of Brett Cowan for the death of their son Daniel Morcombe.

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