A man with a goatee and a blue sedan were described by witnesses who gave evidence in the trial of the accused killer of schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

Witnesses have told Daniel Morcombe’s murder trial about a mystery man and a blue car in the area where the Queensland schoolboy vanished.

One man told the trial of Daniel’s accused killer he saw a glimpse of red from under a “jumping” tarpaulin in the back seat of a moving car.

More than a dozen people told the trial of Brett Peter Cowan they saw a boy in a red T-shirt standing under an overpass at Woombye on the Sunshine Coast on the afternoon of December 7, 2003.

Daniel was 13 when he went missing that afternoon while waiting for a bus at an unofficial bus stop under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass.

The court has heard he was wearing a red T-shirt.

Under questioning by Cowan’s barrister, a 77-year-old man recalled being passed by a blue sedan near the Kiel Mountain Road overpass about 2pm.

“I observed something in the back seat and it was a tarp jumping up and down, and … I thought there was kids or someone under there moving or it was the wind,” Keith Lipke told the court.

He said he also noticed a piece of red material under the tarpaulin.

Joan Anderson said her attention had been caught by a boy and a man standing near a parked blue car because “the two didn’t go together”.

“The chap seemed to turn as we went past the vehicle and put his head (inside), popping it back in the car, which made me feel uncomfortable,” she said.

Many of the witnesses said they saw a tall, thin or gaunt man with unkempt long hair and a goatee standing behind the boy in the red T-shirt.

“He was standing right back against the clay wall … he was standing back leaning against that by himself,” Terry Theuerkauf said.

The court was also told a bus had been within minutes of collecting the boy from the stop.

Former bus driver Jeffrey Norman said he’d told his colleague who was driving the route to go directly to the destination, because an earlier breakdown had delayed passengers.

He followed in another bus and said his colleague radioed to tell him someone was waiting under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass.

“I said I’ll pick him up on the way,” Mr Norman told the court, adding he wouldn’t have been more than two minutes behind the other driver.

Prosecutor Michael Byrne asked Mr Norman if he saw anybody under the overpass.

“Nobody at all,” he said.

Cowan, 44, has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

The trial continues.