The trial of the man accused of murdering Daniel Morcombe continues
The trial of the man accused of murdering Daniel Morcombe continues Contributed

The two minutes that cost Daniel Morcombe his life

TWO minutes. That was the likely window between Daniel Morcombe catching his bus and being abducted.

The 13 year old was waiting under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass unaware there was a broken down bus 800m to 1km up Nambour Connection Road.

Bus driver Jeffrey Norman told Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday that his colleague was instructed to run a replacement bus express to Maroochydore so he drove straight past the boy in the red t-shirt.

Mr Norman was following in another bus to pick up any passengers along the route who would have been waiting at least 45 minutes because of the breakdown.

He said bus driver Ross Edmunds radioed through that there was someone waiting under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass but there was "nobody at all" when he drove past less than two minutes later.

Mr Norman said he would have arrived about 2.15-2.20pm on December 7, 2003, and it would have been no more than five minutes before the replacement bus took off.

He said he got into his bus, waited for traffic and then pulled out on the road.

"It wouldn't have been more than two minutes at most (after the other bus)," he said.

"There was a surge of traffic coming up the road, that was the only thing that delayed me, otherwise it would have been a minute.

"I didn't look on the other side but on the left hand side of the road there was nothing there.

"I didn't stop."

Morcombe trial hears of wild dogs roaming

Brett Peter Cowan, 44, has confessed to undercover police that he abducted Daniel from the overpass that day but he has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

His defence team has begun its examination of the 17 people who saw a boy in red t-shirt - many of whom saw a blue car nearby.

Barrister Angus Edwards told the jury during his opening address that they should pay attention to the evidence from these witnesses because a convicted child sex offender, Douglas Jackway, drove a blue car and was supposed to be on the Sunshine Coast that day.

His client was driving a white Mitsubishi Pajero at the time.

Barry David Kelsey, who was living at Buderim at the time, said he saw a boy he presumed was waiting for a bus.

"I thought at the time he around 11 years old," he said.

"He had a red shirt on, very clean cut, very good looking boy, black shorts.

"I saw the boy from quite a way back because he had his arms out as if he was walking a tightrope.

"I think it was a stick or line in the dirt or something like that."

No trace of Daniel's DNA found inside car

Mr Kelsey said as he came level he noticed a man standing about 5-6m back from him.

He described the man as lean build with darkish hair, three days facial hair growth, thinnish face and about 5'9" to 5'10".

"The boy seemed to be talking and I just gathered he must have been singing or talking to himself," he said.

"Then suddenly I saw this person and realised he might have been talking to him."

Mr Kelsey said he also spotted a blue sedan that was faded and unclean.

Joan Anderson, who was living at Woombye at the time, said she was driving north along the Nambour Connection Road after 1.30pm when she saw the boy about 2m from a blue four-door sedan.

She said it was an older car with faded paint, "not a silvery look but faded worn colour".

Mrs Anderson said there was a man beside the open door, not fully standing but rather appeared as if he was just getting out of the vehicle.

"As we passed the vehicle and seen the boy on the side of the road, to me the two people didn't go together," she said.

"It made me feel uncomfortable."

Through questions from Mr Edwards, Mrs Anderson said the man appeared to be 30-40 years of age with slight to average build.

She said he had unkempt mousey brown coloured, shoulder-length hair and looked like he needed a haircut.

Mrs Anderson said the man was wearing dark clothes and what she thought might have been a checked shirt.

Meticulous process to find Daniel Morcombe's remains

She said the number 009 "comes to mind" when she thinks of the number plate of the car but could not get the letters because a pillar was blocking as they went passed.

"I didn't write it down but tried to repeat it to myself," she said.

Mrs Anderson said she believed they were NSW plates but not because of the colour.

Mr Edwards asked her if she had been shown a room with 37 pictures of cars lining the walls in August, 2004, to see if she could identify the car she saw.

"It was a bit overwhelming," she said

Wendy Burnett, from Woombye, said she saw a tall man with wet, unkempt, scraggly hair and a gaunt face.

She said he was not well dressed and his clothes "dragged" on him like he was too thin for them.

Mrs Burnett said she noticed the boy had longish hair and was well dressed.

Karen Brady told the court she saw a darkish blue, square-shaped car that looked in fairly good condition for an older car.

She said she thought it looked like an old Datsun but she did not notice anyone inside.

Ms Brady said she saw a tall man with collar-length hair, jeans, t-shirt and tanned skin.

"From what I can remember it was more of a stubble, like there was a shadow over his face.

'I noticed that there was a young boy in front of the car and a man standing towards the back of the car, away from it."


Man saw moving tarp inside blue car

A NAMBOUR man has described seeing a tarp moving inside a blue car near the Kiel Mountain Road overpass and glimpsing red material beneath it.

Keith Edward Lipke, 77, told Brisbane Supreme Court He said he saw a dull and faded blue four-door sedan that looked about 20 years old, was squarish and had no hubcaps.

"It was a tarp jumping up and down and as I recall ... I thought it was kids or someone under there moving or it was the wind blowing it," he said.

"I did observe something red but I took no notice of it.

"It was moving around so I would imagine more than one."

Mr Lipke, a hairdresser who has lived at Nambour for 58 years, said the driver had collar-length hair and a passenger had an "untidy unkempt beard".

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