Daniel Morcombe died soon after his abduction, court told

Daniel Morcombe was murdered almost immediately after he was abducted, choked to death as he struggled to get away from his alleged killer, undercover officers allege.

The second half of the committal hearing for Brett Peter Cowan, the man accused of abducting and killing the 13-year-old on December 7, 2003, heard from the principal investigator of the case.

Detective Senior Sergeant Stephen John Blanchfield gave evidence that two undercover police officers had conversations with Mr Cowan on August 9 and 10, 2011, in which he allegedly explained how he killed the teenager.

Mr Cowan allegedly told the officers he had driven past where Daniel was waiting for a bus on the Nambour-Connection Road and decided to turn around and park in a nearby church parking lot.

He allegedly described walking through scrub and bushes to reach the underpass where Daniel was waiting and stood behind the teenager, pretending to wait for the bus.

When the pair were passed by, Mr Cowan allegedly said he approached Daniel and offered him a lift to Sunshine Plaza, the Maroochydore shopping centre Daniel was trying to reach, pretending he too needed to go shopping.

Instead, Mr Cowan allegedly told the undercover officers that he drove Daniel to a demountable building he knew of along Kings Road in Beerwah and told Daniel he needed to call his wife, offering the teen a glass of water.

Once inside the demountable, Mr Cowan allegedly told the officers it all went wrong.

“Yep, I never got to molest him or anything like that,” the 42-year-old allegedly says in the transcript of the recorded conversation.

“He panicked and I panicked and I grabbed him around the throat and before I knew it, he was dead.”

In another conversation, Mr Cowan allegedly described how he pulled Daniel’s pants down and the teen said “oh no!”‘ and struggled to get away.

“I thought he as going to get away,” Mr Cowan allegedly told the two undercover officers.

“I had hold of his pants and when he went ‘oh no’ and pulled his pants back up and tried to run away…I just pulled my arm in tight and heard a chhhhhh [sound].”

Mr Cowan allegedly said he heard a bone snap in the teen’s neck.

He then allegedly said he put Daniel’s body back in his car, drove down the road and reached an area where he could drive no more.

He allegedly explained dragging the body to an area near a tree and a small area of water, where he left it, after stripping Daniel’s clothes of, attempting to cover his body with branches and leaves and throwing his clothes and shoes into the nearby water.

Mr Cowan allegedly took the two undercover officers to the area where he said he had left the body.

Remains, which have been determined to be Daniel’s, were found in the area that Mr Cowan allegedly pointed out to the two men.

Why Mr Cowan was speaking to the men was not explained.

Mr Cowan sat in the dock looking gaunt and unkempt.

Wearing a grey suit, pale blue shirt and cross hatched tie, his clothes appeared to fit him better than the first half of the committal trial held late last year, but his hair was unbrushed and his face didn’t alter in expression as Senior Sergeant Blanchfield gave evidence.

Daniel’s parents Denise and Bruce Morcombe were in the public gallery to hear the detective’s evidence.

The hearing continues.

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