IT IS day seven of the trial Daniel Morcombe.
4pm: The 83rd witness is Hazel Davis, the wife of Frank Davis.
She said she knew Brett Peter Cowan and attended the Suncoast Christian Church near the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass in December, 2003.
Ms Davis said Cowan called her and asked to borrow a mulcher to clean a property he had been renting.
She said she was going to her daughter’s house and wanted to leave at 1.30pm at the latest, so she asked Cowan to hurry.
“Only long enough to get the mulcher out of the shed at the back of the house,’’ she said.
Ms Davis said she poked her head around the door to say “Hello, Brett’’.
The 84th witness is Paul Michael Venz, who was the Road Operations North Coast Region manager for the Department of Transport and Main Roads in 2003 and operated traffic management cameras throughout the area.
He said prior to 2009, the cameras did not continually record and would be manually focused on a position within the network.
Mr Venz told the jury there was a traffic camera positioned at the intersection of the Bruce Highway and Maroochydore Rd on December 7, 2003 but no recordings were made.
Mr Venz said there was a traffic camera at the intersection of Caloundra Rd, the Bruce Highway with Steve Irwin Way but again, no recordings were made.
The trial will resume on Thursday at 10am.
3.40pm: The 82nd witness is Frank Davis, who has lived at Perwillowen Rd at Burnside, in Nambour, since 1959.
He said he knew Brett Peter Cowan, who was employed by his son Trevor.
Mr Davis also knew Cowan because he went to the same church.
“Quite reasonably regularly, we are a close-knit family and we do a lot of those things together and Brett was invited to some of those functions,’’ he said.
Mr Davis said he had an orange mulcher that he used for breaking down branches and to make compost.
Police ambushed Daniel’s alleged killer 2:07
He said he saw Cowan on December 7, 2003.
“Brett had phones to borrow the mulcher and we were going out that day… my wife took the call and told him we were going to our daughter’s place later that day and he would need to get up there very quickly because we were leaving in half an hour,’’ he said.
He said it was between 1.30pm and 1.45pm when Cowan arrived.
“I didn’t remember at the time but I know now that it was a white Pajero station wagon,’’ he said.
He said the mulcher was put into the back of the car, diagonally across because of its size.
“His work clothes, he used to come and go a lot to pick up stuff, I had equipment of my son’s that he didn’t use very much … he was wearing work clothes, which they always looked scruffy because it was a sand-blasting business and it’s a very dirty job,’’ he said.
“Brett was fairly slim, he was usually partly unshaven, he was wearing what I would normally expect him to wear when he was working.’’
He said Cowan’s hair was medium-length.
Mr Davis said Cowan would not have stayed longer than 10 minutes.
He said the mulcher was returned to him about Tuesday of the following week.
Mr Davis said he eventually gave the mulcher to his grandson and understood it was later given away.
He said police had since seized the mulcher.
The jury was shown a photo of the orange mulcher in the back of a car.
“Yeah, that’s the mulcher,’’ Mr Davis said.
He said it was missing a motor and a shoot, which would have made it hard to fit it into the car.
Mr Davis said the body of the mulcher would have had to have been placed in the back of the Pajero on an angle with the rear seats up.
“I believe the seat was in the up position, I don’t think the mulcher would have gone in properly otherwise,’’ he said.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, Mr Davis said it was a possibility Cowan had cut his hair short a few months before December, 2003.
“Most of the time I saw Brett his hair was fairly long,’’ he said.
Mr Davis said the ‘shoot’ of the mulcher, missing in the photo seen by the jury, would have been “up near the roof’’ of the Pajero.
He said there would have been two wheels on the mulcher, as well.
Mr Davis said the mulcher would have had to have been put in on an angle, leaving some floor space on the right-hand side of the boot.
3.10pm: The 81st witness is Troy Meiers, who lived near Coolum Beach in December, 2003.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, he said he left to go to a friend’s place about 3pm and travelled under the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass in the direction of Nambour.
He said he saw a blue car, roughly 1980s model with a poorly-conditioned paint job, parked near the overpass on the same side of Nambour-Connection Rd as traffic travelling towards Nambour.
Mr Meiers agreed he gave a statement to police on December 8, 2003 that said he saw a man standing at the back of the car, leaning against the taillight.
He agreed he told police the man had a goatee and a thin face.
Sting snared Daniel murder ‘confession’ 2:02
p>He said there was a boy on the opposite side of the road, wearing a red shirt and a second man with his back turned away from him.
Mr Meiers said he drove back past the overpass about 15 minutes later.
“I went to see a mate, who wasn’t home,’’ he said.
He said he saw one of the men again.
“I saw one person standing behind the young fella with the red shirt,’’ he said.
He said he saw the boy in the red shirt again.
In re-examination by Crown prosecutor Glen Cash, Mr Meiers said it was about 1pm, but then hesitated, when he drove past the overpass.
“I’m unsure of the time,’’ he said.
3pm: The 79th witness in the trial is Stuart Rose, a Sunbus driver who drove to Woombye to help driver Ross Edmonds when his bus broke down on Sunday, December 7, 2003.
Mr Rose said the passengers on Mr Edmond’s bus got onto a new bus and he continued his run.
“He was told to run out the service, to get the service to the plaza and we would come behind and do the rest of his run to pick up any passengers along the route,’’ Mr Rose said.
He said he would have followed five minutes behind Mr Edmonds in the shuttle bus with Jeff Norman.
Mr Rose said he heard a two-way transmission come through but it was broken.
“There was a radio transmission but you couldn’t hear it properly and all I heard about it was ‘something under the bridge’ and that’s all I heard,’’ he said.
He said he slowed down near Kiel Mountain Rd overpass because of the “scratchy’’ radio transmission but did not see anyone there.
The 80th witness is John Bulmer, who in cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, agreed he gave a statement to police on May 12, 2005.
He said he usually travelled to his brother’s place between midday and 2pm towards Maroochydore via Nambour-Connection Rd.
“There was a blue Toyota Corolla, early model, on the side of the road and there was also a white van around there,’’ he said.
He said the driver’s side rear door of the car was open.
“The door was wide open so it would have been close to the white line on the side of the road,’’ he said.
Mr Bulmer said he saw a child standing under the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass that matched later descriptions of Daniel Morcombe he saw in the media.
In re-examination by Crown prosecutor Glen Cash, Mr Bulmer said he couldn’t recall the boy’s description for the court.
“It’s getting a bit far back now, a few years ago, short hair, I know he was white, Caucasian, about 13-years-old,’’ he said.
“I can’t really remember what he was wearing now. He may have had a baseball cap or something on his head, too far back to remember accurately.’’
1pm: The 78th witness is Belinda Russell, who was driving in a Mitsubishi Pajero with her husband and children on Nambour-Connection Rd on December 7, 2003.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, she said her family was travelling from Nambour to Maroochydore when she saw a boy beneath the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass.
“He was a fairly young-looking boy with black hair, I don’t remember what colour shorts but definitely a red T-shirt and white shoes,’’ she said.
“I would say young, teenaged.’’
She said her car was travelling behind a blue Sunbus and she saw the boy try to flag down the bus, but it didn’t stop.
Ms Russell said she then noticed a blue car cut in front of them near the Big Pineapple.
“It was 1980s model, sky blue, fairly square … it wasn’t a very modern car,’’ she said.
“I could see a person, which I thought was male, in the back seat, fairly stocky build, he was punching and moving violently in the back of the seat, slightly to the right.’’
She said the man was sitting high in the seat and “punching down’’ when she saw a foot come up with a white sneaker.
“Violent and fast, so much so that the back of the car itself was bouncing around,’’ she said.
Ms Russell said the sneaker she saw in the car was white, not brown.
“I’m quite sure,’’ she said.
In re-examination by Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne, Ms Russell said she drove under the overpass between 12.30pm and 1pm.
“It drew away a little, it wasn’t excessive, it wasn’t speeding,’’ she said of the blue car.
She said the foot she saw “came up’’ in the middle of the back seat.
“It come up about the middle of the back seat, slightly to the right of the middle, I suggest, it was trying to push the man away who was sitting in the back seat because it came up towards the middle and was trying to kick at the person in the back seat,’’ she said.
12.45pm: The 77th witness is Kevin Fitzgerald, who lived with Sandra Drummond at Beerwah and knew Brett Peter Cowan in December, 2003.
He said he was a member of the Beerwah RSL, not far from his home off Phipps Street.
Mr Fitzgerald said it took no longer than five minutes to drive there from his home.
“We’d known each other for a while, months,’’ Mr Fitzgerald said of Cowan.
He said Cowan came to his home.
“Sometimes he’d drop in for a cuppa and a chat, other times he’d drop in to score some marijuana,’’ he said.
He said Cowan bought $25 to $30 amounts of cannabis at a time, weighing roughly 3g, usually “a couple of times a week’’.
Mr Fitzgerald said Cowan was buying cannabis from him in December, 2003 but with no particular frequency.
“Sometimes he’d just drop in out of the blue,’’ he said.
He said he often went to the Beerwah RSL together with Ms Drummond on Sundays.
“Her daughter has a gaming license and used to basically run her shift down there,’’ he said, adding she would quite often work Sundays.
Mr Fitzgerald said he and Ms Drummond had reward cards that went into the poker machine he was playing.
“Not a hundred percent sure, no,’’ he said, when asked if he was at the Beerwah RSL on the afternoon on Sunday, December 7, 2003.
He said he didn’t remember Cowan coming to his house that afternoon.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, Mr Fitzgerald agreed he and Ms Drummond were friendly with Cowan.
He agreed he once said his memory wasn’t that good because he’d had a “few knocks to the head’’ and had smoked “a lot of cannabis’’.
“I thought we were friends, yes,’’ he said of his relationship with Cowan.
Mr Fitzgerald said Cowan once came over and used an excavator to level his backyard.
He said he didn’t remember Cowan coming to his house and showing him a mulcher on December 7, 2003.
“He might of, he might not, but I don’t remember it,’’ he said.
Mr Fitzgerald told the jury he had been fixing up the mower at the time and thought something like Cowan’s visit would have “stuck in his mind’’.
In re-examination by Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne, Mr Fitzgerald said he would travel to and from the Beerwah RSL with Ms Drummond.
12.30pm: The 76th witness is Matthew Finlayson, who was with his then-partner Katherine Bird when the Sunbus he was on broke down on the Nambour-Connection Rd at Woombye on December 7, 2003.
He said he got on another bus, about four seats behind the driver, and continued the journey by travelling under the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass.
“I seen (sic) Daniel and the bloke leaning up against the pylons,’’ he said, adding he thought there was about 15m between them.
He described the man as wearing shorts, with work boots and a “flanny’’ shirt.
Mr Finlayson said the boy put his hands up as if he was “disappointed it didn’t stop’’.
“As we were coming, yeah, he was sort of getting ready for the bus to stop and get on … he just walked towards the road to get picked up and as we went by he went ‘Urgh’, you know’,’’ he said.
He said Ms Bird, who was sitting next to him, asked the driver to stop.
In cross-examination by Angus Edwards, for Cowan, he agreed he gave a statement to police on December 14, 2003 that two Sunbus buses arrived to replace the broken-down bus.
He agreed the man he saw was wearing blue denim shorts, a short-sleeved shirt and a blue-coloured check pattern flannelette shirt tied around his waist.
Mr Finlayson agreed the man appeared to have a hand-sized tattoo or a “dirty mark’’ on his leg.
12.20pm: The 75th witness is Katherine Bird, who lived at Maroochydore with her children and partner, and travelled from Brisbane via train and Sunbus on December 7, 2003.
She said the bus left Nambour for Maroochydore at 1.20pm.
Ms Bird said the bus broke down on the Nambour-Connection Rd and it took about 45 minutes for another bus to come.
She said she was seated next to her partner in the middle of the second bus as it continued its journey and passed the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass.
“There was a man standing up against the wall under the overpass,’’ Ms Bird said.
“Leaning up against the wall with his arms crossed, under the overpass. I remember he had a leg up and he was leaning up against the wall.’’
She said the man was wearing a white shirt and denim shorts with shoes and socks.
“There was a child standing there waiting for the bus, dark hair, about 13, red shirt, blue shorts,’’ Ms Bird said.
She said he was “flagging down the bus’’ as it passed.
Ms Bird said she asked the driver to stop.
“I spoke to the bus driver and told the bus driver to stop, we actually had a little argument on the bus and he threatened to throw me off,’’ she said.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, she reiterated she had an argument with the bus driver where he threatened to evict her.
“If I didn’t sit down, yes, I would be thrown off the bus,’’ she said.
She agreed she told police she saw a tattoo on the man’s leg and thought the man might have had a flannelette shirt tied around his waste.
12pm: The 74th witness is Sunbus driver Ross Edmonds, who was rostered to work between 5.55am and 2.30pm on Sunday, December 7, 2003.
He said he drove a 1pm bus from Nambour to the Sunshine Plaza at Maroochydore.
Mr Edmonds said he drove along the Nambour-Connection Rd until his bus broke down at the Blackall Rd intersection at Woombye.
“The accelerator cable actually broke on the bus,’’ he said.
He said he called his depot controller via two-way radio and spoke to Jeff Norman.
Mr Edmonds said he had a card that went into the ticket machine on the bus that was removed when he broke down at 1.49pm.
He said he removed the card about five minutes after the bus broke down.
Mr Edmonds said Jeff Norman and Stuart Rose arrived about 2.15pm.
“Jeff told me ‘You just go direct to Maroochydore, we’ll do the pick-ups on the other bus that was going to follow’,’’ he said.
He said he put his card back into the ticket machine on the new bus at 2.20pm.
Mr Edmonds said he thought he’d reached Kunda Park when he put the card into the machine.
He said he drove away in the new bus and travelled along Nambour-Connection Rd to the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass.
“A young chap in the red shirt and black trousers and another chap sitting up on the side of the bank,’’ he said.
“I did say at the time, I’d just gone past and I thought he was about 15 (years old).
“He lifted his finger ‘like that’ and I pointed that there was another bus coming to indicate there was another bus coming.’’
Mr Edmonds said the boy in red moved his hand and in reply, he pointed over his shoulder.
“There was another fella sitting there, I don’t know whether he was talking to him or not, he was looking that way, put it that way,’’ he said.
He said the man, roughly 3m behind the boy, had dark hair and was aged in his late 20s or early 30s.
Mr Edmonds said he called Mr Norman on the two-way and told him there was people waiting for a bus beneath the overpass but couldn’t remember getting a response.
He said passengers on the bus didn’t ask him to stop as they passed the overpass.
“But they probably heard me saying ‘There’s another one coming’,’’ he said.
Mr Edmonds said he didn’t see a car parked underneath the overpass.
“No, I never noticed a car,’’ he said.
He said he thought he would have been travelling at about 70km/h and “took the foot off’’ when he saw the boy.
“I just continued on,’’ Mr Edmonds said.
“Jeff had told me he would pick up anyone that was around.’’
Justice Roslyn Atkinson told the jury the prosecution had a duty to be fair and a duty to call any witness who might have some evidence which might be relevant to the prosecution or to the defence.
“You might have been wondering why the prosecution calls witnesses and doesn’t ask them any questions, well it’s part of their duty to be fair,’’ she said.
11.30am: The 73rd witness is Kaye Gregory, who in cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, said she was travelling past the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass about lunchtime on December 7, 2003.
She said she saw a young boy in a red shirt under the overpass and further on, a blue car with a man standing next to it.
“I did notice that the boot was open,’’ she said of the car, which was parked facing the opposite direction to traffic.
“It was facing towards Nambour, which was opposite to the way we were travelling.’’
The jury was shown a stick figure Ms Gregory drew on a colour photocopy of the overpass to represent where the boy and the car were on December 1, 2004.
11.10am: The 72nd witness is Peter McGruddy, who lived at Palmwoods when he drove past the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass about 10.45am on December 7, 2003.
“There was a blue early model Falcon, about 1982 or early 80s, it was a faded blue Falcon, it had two wheels on the gravel and two wheels on the bitumen partially blocking the lane,’’ he said.
“As I pulled over to take the exit, I saw two black sandshoes with the toes pointing upwards, the legs … being pulled into a car.
“The rear windows were obscured, I couldn’t see into the car at all and the car sped off.’’
He said the rear windows of the car were obscured with what appeared to be black cushions.
“What got my attention was the fact that the toes were pointing upwards when the person went into the car, like somebody pulled them in,’’ he said.
He said he didn’t pass the information on to police initially because he thought what he saw took place much earlier in the day than when Daniel Morcombe disappeared.
The 71st witness was Robert Broadbent, who left a function at the Nambour Showgrounds to go to a barbecue at Buderim about 2pm on December 7, 2003.
He said he was driving with his wife and young son in the car on Nambour-Connection Rd past the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass.
“I saw a young boy standing under the bridge with a large stick in his hand, he had his head down and he wore a distinctive red shirt,’’ Mr Broadbent said.
“He was virtually right on the edge of the road.’’
He said he didn’t see any other people or cars nearby.
He agreed in cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, he didn’t make an official statement with police until September 7, 2011.
10.55am: The 70th witness is Kerryn Sider, who was a passenger in a car that drove beneath the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass on Nambour-Connection Rd about 2.07pm on Sunday, December 7, 2003.
“A gentleman walking towards the underpass and when I got to the underpass there was a boy under the overpass,’’ she said.
“Scruffy-looking with shoulder length-hair, had a goatee-ish sort of thing, was wearing shorts and a shirt. Probably late 30s,’’ she said.
She said the man was small and skinny and appeared to be roughly 50 to 100m from the overpass.
Ms Sider said the boy she saw was standing near the embankment beneath the overpass.
“Dark hair, red shirt, shorts, just kicking his feet in the dirt,’’ she said.
“Gathering by his height I thought he was about 10 or 11. (He was) under the bridge on the dirt, just kicking his feet, throwing stones or something.’’
Ms Sider said there was a car parked on the Maroochydore side of the overpass.
“A small sedan shaped like an old Signa or something, squarish,’’ she said.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, Ms Sider agreed the car she saw was an older-model, squarely-shaped and coloured blue.
10.45am: The 69th witness is Rebecca Lees, who lived at Woombye when she went to Sunshine Plaza at Maroochydore with her daughter about 10am on December 7, 2003.
She said she returned home, stopping first at a BP service station for fuel and to buy an apple juice on Maroochydore Rd just before 2pm.
Ms Lees agreed a receipt she received was timed at 1.54pm.
She said she continued home via Nambour-Connection Rd and under the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass just after 2pm.
“As I went through the Kiel Mountain overpass I saw what I thought was a youth in a red T-shirt sitting up on the embankment under the bridge,’’ she said.
“I remember thinking or saying to my daughter ‘Oh, that’s a weird place to sit’.’’
She said she didn’t see anyone else nearby and no other cars.
Ms Lees said she got home to Woombye about 2.15pm.
The jury was shown a photocopied image of the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass where Ms Lees had drawn an arrow for police pointing to where the boy she saw had been sitting on the embankment.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, Ms Lees said she did not recall seeing any buses or cars stopped near the intersection to Blackall St at Woombye.
10.30am: The 68th witness is Maureen Bartle, who lived at Palmwoods when she left for work as a nurse at a nursing home via the Nambour-Connection Rd on Sunday, December 7, 2003.
She said she would have gone via Kiel Mountain Rd overpass about 1.45pm.
“As I slowed to check traffic … I saw a young boy standing on the Nambour side of the overpass, the north side, on the right hand side of the road,’’ Ms Bartle said.
“He was a little distance from the bridge, standing on the side of the road in a dirt area.
“To me he looked a young boy, about 11 or 12, short, dark hair. I noticed that he had a bright red T-shirt on and dark shorts.’’
Ms Bartle said she didn’t see anyone else or any cars stopped nearby.
10.25am: The 67th witness is Lesley Mahoney, who lived at Palmwoods when she was asked to pick up her husband from work in Nambour about 12.30pm on December 7, 2003.
“I think I left home about (12.40pm), by the time I locked up the house and whatever,’’ she said.
She said she drove home via the Nambour-Connection Rd and turned-off near the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass.
“I saw a pale blue old car, probably about up where there’s a caravan yard and there’s a flat grassed area where you pull off to the side of the road,’’ Ms Mahoney said.
She said the car was parked “at a silly angle’’ on the left-hand side of the road near the Christian Outreach Centre.
“Just an old, dirty car that needed a bit of a wash, it was driving along and it wasn’t parked parallel it was parked on an angle, that’s what took my attention, nose-in,’’ Ms Mahoney said.
“I didn’t see anybody about. It was dirty, needed a wash.’’
Ms Mahoney said she saw a boy down near Taintons Rd, near to a water tower, roughly at 1.30pm.
“I would have described him as a young, 12-year-old boy, neatly dressed wearing a red shirt, he wasn’t scruffy looking or anything,’’ she said.
In cross-examination by barrister Angus Edwards, for Cowan, Ms Mahoney agreed she identified two blue cars in photographs shown to her by police.