Daniel Morcombe (left) pictured in a family photo
Daniel Morcombe (left) pictured in a family photo Contributed

Elderly man recalls seeing Cowan on the day Daniel vanished

FRANK and Hazel Davis, who knew Mr Cowan from the Suncoast Christian Church, said Mr Cowan collected a mulcher from their property at Perwillowen Rd, Nambour, the day Daniel disappeared.

Mr Davis, 80, said Mr Cowan worked for his son Trevor's sandblasting business in 2002-03 and was regular at their family functions.

He said Brett had phoned to borrow the mulcher between 12.45pm and 1pm.

"My wife took the call and she told him we were going to daughter's place later that day and he that would need to get up there fairly quickly because we were leaving within half an hour to three quarters of an hour," he said.

"It would have been half to three quarters of an hour later and I helped him load the mulcher into his vehicle.

"I now know it was a white Pajero stationwagon … five doors if you count the back one.

"It went in the back. Because of the size … it was quite awkward to load."

Mr Davis said he thought Mr Cowan was wearing scruffy work clothes, was "fairly slim", usually unshaven and had medium length hair, not below his shoulders.

"He used to come and go quite a lot to pick up stuff," he said.

"I had equipment of my son's that he doesn't use very much and his staff often came down to pick things of his up from there.

"I'm a welder by trade and I have several welders and they used to borrow them from time to time.

"It was quite common for Trevor's staff to come down in various vehicles to pick things up and take them away.

"He didn't look any different from what I remember."

Mr Davis said it took no more than 10 minutes to turn the vehicle around and load the mulcher before Mr Cowan left.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards suggested Mr Cowan had very short hair, that he had cut it a couple of months prior and it was short all over.

"That's a possibility," Mr Davis said.

Mr Edwards suggested Mr Cowan would sometimes wear his hair long but when it was hot he would shave it.

"Most of the time I saw Brett he had his hair fairly long but I can't remember for sure," he said.

His wife Hazel said she only poked her head out the door to say hello and could not remember what Mr Cowan looked like that day.

Woman says boy bashed in back of blue car

A GYMPIE woman has testified she saw a child with white sneakers on Nambour Connection Road later being bashed in the back of a blue car.

Belinda Russell, who was living at Woombye at the time, said an blue 80s model case with squarish looking boot sped past her a few minutes after she saw the boy.

She said she saw a "fairly young looking boy with black hair" wearing a red  t-shirt and "fairly white shoes" in the shadow of the the Kiel Mountain Road overpass about 12.30-1pm.

Ms Russell said she saw the boy raise his hand to hail a blue Sunsbus travelling in front of her family but the bus drove past.

She said a sky blue sun-faded four-door sedan later pulled sharply in front of her and was moving around violently.

"I could see a person which I thought was male in the back seat," she said.

"He was punching and moving violently in the back of the seat, slightly to the right."

Ms Russell said it was like he was sitting on top of someone because he was sitting quite high in the back seat.

She said she saw a white sneaker raise up at one point, as if it was kicking out at the person.

Ms Russell said it appeared to be the same sneaker she had seen the boy wearing a few minutes earlier.

She said the man hitting seemed to be using his elbows and his fists as he punched down "violent and fast" towards the back seat.

"So much so that the back of the car itself was bouncing around," she said.

Ms Russell said she did not get a good look at the person driving the car because he did not turn around or even acknowledge what was happening in the back seat.

She said she tried to write down the registration number but her pen would not work so she just had an indentation on her shopping list which has since been thrown out.

Ms Russell said she remembered the Q because that was the first initial of her older son's name and C because it was the first letter of a former boyfriend's name.

She said she "definitely" remembered the number seven too and believed it was a Queensland number plate.

Brett Cowan's friend can't confirm seeing him on Daniel day

A MAN who considered accused murderer Brett Peter Cowan a friend cannot confirm whether he dropped in the day Daniel Morcombe went missing.

Kevin Fitzgerald, who was living at 154 Peachester Road at Beerwah in 2003, said he had known Mr Cowan for some months and that he would visit two to three times a week in 2003.

"Sometimes he'd just drop in for a cuppa and a chat," he said.

"Other times he'd drop into score marijuana ... $25-30 worth, very little.

"Sometimes he'd just drop in out of the blue."

Mr Fitzgerald said $25 worth would come in a piece of foil as round as a little finger and about 10-12cm long, about 3g.

He said Mr Cowan would drop by for up to half an hour and once used an excavator to level Mr Fitzgerald's backyard.

"We'd known each other for a while, months," he said.

"I thought we were friends."

Mr Fitzgerald said he and his partner Sandra Drummond, who is yet to testify, regularly would head to the Beerwah RSL on Sundays.

He said it was five minutes from his home to the RSL and Ms Drummond's daughter often worked there on Sundays.

"I was a member and I quite often went down there on a Sunday," he said.

"(My partner) was a member as well and we usually went down together."

Mr Fitzgerald said they would use a rewards card in the pokie machines when they went because he could select a prize from the showcase when he built up enough points.

He said he never leant his rewards card to anyone else.

The reason for this questioning has not yet been explained.

Mr Fitzgerald said he could not recall 100% if he and Ms Drummond went to the Beerwah RSL on December 7, 2003 - the day Daniel Morcombe went missing.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne asked Mr Fitzgerald: "Do you recall if Brett Cowan came to your house at 154 Peachester Road, Beerwah (that day)?"

"No I don't remember that," he said.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards asked if it was fair to suggest Mr Fitzgerald's memory was not the best but the witness was hesitant to respond positively.

"You've previously said your memory is not really good because you've had a few knocks to head over the years and you've smoked cannabis for many years?" he said.

"Yes that's right," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Mr Edwards suggested Mr Cowan did go to Mr Fitzgerald's home on that day.

"I don't remember. He might have, he might not," he said.

Mr Edwards suggested Mr Cowan showed Mr Fitzgerald a mulcher in the back of his Pajero that day.

"Possibly but I don't remember it," he said.

"It's the sort of thing I would remember."

Mr Fitzgerald explained he often played around with "mechanical stuff" and that he had spent five or six weeks rebuilding a mower around that time "so it should stick in my head".

But he said he had no recollection of it at all.

Brett Wortman

Bus passenger urged driver to stop for Daniel, jury told

BUS passenger Katherine Bird said she had an argument with the driver about not stopping to pick up a boy in a red t-shirt.

She said she approached the driver after she saw him point his thumb over his shoulder waving side to side to indicate to the boy there was a bus following.

Ms Bird said the driver told her he would throw her off the bus if she did not sit down.

"There was a man standing up against the wall under the overpass," she said.

"He was leaning up against the wall with his arms crossed.

"I remember he had a leg up.

"There was a child standing there waiting for the bus, dark hair, about 13, red shirt, blue shorts, on the edge of the road flagging down the bus.

"I do recall him holding something I just don't know what it was."

Ms Bird said she thought the man might have had a tattoo or some dark mark on his leg and might have had a flannelette shirt tied around his waist.

Her partner Matthew Findlayson told the court he thought the man had a blue-coloured check shirt and had a tattoo or a dirty mark on his leg.

"(I saw) Daniel and the bloke leaning up against the pylon," he said.

"(The man) had shorts on, work boots, flannie shirt.

"He was learning up against (the pylon). His back was leaning against it.

"As we were coming he was getting ready for the bus top stop to get on but we kept going.

"He walked towards the road ready to be picked up.

"Was we went by he (seemed to sigh dejectedly).

"He was disappointed, you know, that it didn't stop."


Bus driver 'following orders' when he drove past Daniel

SUNSHINE Coast bus driver Ross Edmunds has told a court he was just following instructions when he drove past Daniel Morcombe without stopping to pick him up.

He said his bus broke down near the Blackall Street intersection at Woombye, about a kilometre north of the Kiel Mountain Road over pass where Daniel was waiting, at 1.44pm.

Mr Edmunds said he looked at his watch about 2.10pm while he was waiting for a replacement bus and believed it arrived about five minutes later.

He said fellow bus driver Jeffrey Norman told him to go direct to Maroochydore, that they would do "pick-ups" on the way back.

Mr Edmunds said he saw two people when he drove under the overpass.

"A young chap in a red shirt and black trousers and another chap sitting up on the side of the bank," she said.

"I did say at the time, driving past, I thought he was about 15 (years old).

"He lifted his finger and I pointed to him there was another bus coming.

"He did sort of move his hand."

Mr Edmunds said he pointed over his shoulder to indicate another bus was coming and he called Mr Norman, who was following, on a two-way radio to alert him.

He said he did not get a response that he could recall but told him there was someone waiting there.

Mr Edmunds said he saw a man about 3-4m  from the boy, to his side and a fraction behind.

"There was another fella sitting there," he said.

"I don't know if he was talking to (the boy) or not but he was looking that way.

"He had dark hair, I couldn't put a face to him at all.

"I'd say he was somewhere in the vicinity of late 20s or early 30s just by the look and size of him."

Mr Edmunds said he did not see any other people or any cars nearby.

He said he did not recall any passengers questioning him passing the boy without stopping.

A pollice re-enactment of the day Daniel Morcombe disappeared. FILE
A pollice re-enactment of the day Daniel Morcombe disappeared. FILE

Witness describes legs and shoes disappearing into blue car

A FORMER Palmwoods man has described seeing legs and shoes disappearing into a blue car before it "shot off" towards Maroochydore at a rapid pace.

Caboolture resident Peter McGruddy, who was living at Palmwoods in 2003, said he was returning from Nambour just before 11am on December 7, 2003, when he saw a blue early model Ford Falcon, probably 1982 or early 1980s.

He said the car had two wheels on the gravel and two wheels on the bitumen partially blocking the lane when he tried to turn off.

"I was behind a truck and as I pulled over to take that exit I saw two black sandshoes with the toes pointing upwards and the legs from the knees being pulled into the rear of a car," he said.

"The door closed and the door shot off in front of me; I had to brake.

"The rear windows were obscured; I couldn't see into the car at all.

"The car sped off at rapid acceleration towards Maroochydore.

"The back window was obscured with black cushions or something; you couldn't see through the car.

"What got my attention was that the toes were pointing upwards when they went into the car like someone pulled them in."

Mr McGruddy said he could not see the driver or anyone else in the car.

He was asked about the registration plates but he did not take particular notice.

"Because it was the wrong time of day for Daniel Morcombe's disappearance, I really didn't follow it up," he said.


Daniel Morccombe witness says car parked on 'silly angle'

A PALMWOODS woman has told Brisbane Supreme Court she saw a blue car parked on "a silly angle" as she was turning off the Nambour Connection Road the day Daniel Morcombe went missing.

Lesley Mahoney said it was dirty and needed a wash but she did not see anyone nearby.

She said she thought "what an idiot" as she tried to turn off just after the car, which was parked nose in from the road near the Kiel Mountain Road overpass.

Ms Mahoney said she also saw a young boy she thought was aged about 12 who was neatly dressed.

"He wasn't scruffy," she said.

Fellow Palmwoods resident Maureen Bartle also testified she saw a boy in a red t-shirt, who looked about 11 or 12 years of age, about 1.45pm on December 7, 2003.

She said she noticed him standing on the Nambour side of the overpass as she slowed to check traffic.

"He was a little distance from the bridge, standing on the side of the road in a dirt area," she said.

Mrs Bartle said the boy had short dark hair, a bright red t-shirt and dark shorts.

"It was just a quick glance," she said.

Woombye resident Rebecca Lees said her and her daughter drove to Sunshine Plaza about 10am and returned just after 2pm.

"As I went through the Kiel Mountain overpass I saw what I thought was a youth on the red t-shirt sitting up on the embankment under the bridge," she said.

"I remember thinking or saying to my daughter 'that's a weird place to sit'."

Kerryn Siver, the 70th witness so far, said she saw a scruffy looking man with shoulder length hair walking towards the overpass just after 2pm.

She said he had "goatee-ish" facial hair, was wearing shorts and a shirt, and looked late 30s.

Ms Siver said he was a "skinny fella" who was average height.

She said she saw a boy, aged about 10 or 11, in a red shirt and shorts who was kicking his feet in the dirt.

 She saw a blue car that had a squarish shape but could not offer any other details.

Robert Broadbent, who has lived in Nambour for 27 years, said he was driving from a function at Nambour showgrounds to Buderim for a barbecue.

"I saw a young boy standing under the bridge with a large stick in his hand," he said.

"He had his head down and he wore a distinctive red shirt."

Lismore Swans kick goals for mental health group

Premium Content Lismore Swans kick goals for mental health group

A NORTHERN RIVERS outdoor mental health program is stoked after the Lismore Swans...

Keeping 900 students away from school all part of the drill

Premium Content Keeping 900 students away from school all part of the drill

Trinity Principal uses “well thumbed” emergency plan to keep school safe and...

Lismore Supercar driver set to conquer Bathurst 1000

Premium Content Lismore Supercar driver set to conquer Bathurst 1000

INCREDIBLE opportunity for a young racing star, who will make his debut against the...