Daniel Morcombe’s family has been greeted by a large media contingent outside the Brisbane Supreme Court, where a man will stand trial for the abduction and murder of the Sunshine Coast schoolboy.
Under grey skies, Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe, his twin Bradley and older brother Dean walked into the court, with Bruce pausing to thank supporters.
‘‘Ten years, two months and three days we find ourselves here, so it’s been a long grind,’’ he said.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe speak to media as they enter day 1 of the trial for the man accused of killing Daniel Morcombe. Photo: Harrison Saragossi
‘‘But we certainly thank the media, police, the SES and the community for getting us to this point and we’ll see what the next few weeks unfold.’’
From 10am, the process of selecting a jury for the long-awaited trial of Brett Peter Cowan starts.
Daniel Morcombe went missing more than a decade ago. Photo: Supplied
Fifteen jurors will be empanelled. The process is expected to take two hours, but the first of the evidence may not be heard until Tuesday.
Mr Cowan will sit in the open dock, less than one metre from the public gallery.
Mr Cowan arrived in the courtroom shortly after 10am wearing a grey suit and blue striped tie, appeared relaxed.
He did not pause to look at the Morcombe family sitting in the public gallery, but their gaze followed him until he took a seat in the dock.
The 44-year-old father of three is charged with one count of murder, one count of indecent treatment of a child under 16 years and one count of misconduct with a corpse by interfering.
The media who cannot squeeze into the court room will be gathered in an adjacent room where the trial will be live-streamed.
Up to 200 witnesses including Daniel’s parents could be called to give evidence during the trial.
The trial will be among the most watched in the country, garnering the attention of the public nationwide, who came to know Daniel as the child whose sparkling eyes beamed from the missing persons posters.
Meanwhile, Bruce and Denise Morcombe will steel themselves for the details they will hear about their son’s final hours.
Daniel was 13 years old when he disappeared from a Sunshine Coast bus stop under an overpass on Nambour Connection Road on December 7, 2003.
He was planning to go shopping for Christmas presents and get a haircut.
Nearly eight years later, Mr Cowan was charged with Daniel’s abduction and murder in August 2011.
Daniel’s stoic parents say they were prepared for what they have to hear, having made a vow to their lost boy 10 years and two months ago.
“We made a promise to Daniel, in his absence in those very early hours and days, that we would ride this out to the end,” Mr Morcombe said.
“This, going there, being there in the court room, is part of that promise.”
- with Amy Remeikis and AAP