When Lisa Harnum was allegedly thrown to her death from a high-rise balcony by her fiance, nearby council workers heard her screams but thought it was a bird.

Simon Gittany has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Ms Harnum and is now facing trial in Sydney before the NSW Supreme Court.

The 40-year-old is accused of pitching her from their 15th-storey home unit on Liverpool Street opposite Hyde Park on July 30, 2011.

Wayne Steel, a City of Sydney labourer, was working near Museum Railway Station just metres from the block that Saturday morning.

"I thought it was a squawk, I thought it was a bird," he told Gittany's trial on Wednesday.

"Like an `argh' then something hit.

"Straight after it, there was a thud. At first I thought it was a car accident."

Another council employee, Paul Baker, was working opposite the building, in Hyde Park.

He said he first heard a "groan" or an "argh".

"It was very brief, I thought it was a bird."

As people began crowding around, both men soon realised what they'd heard was a woman hitting the Liverpool Street footpath.

The court has previously been told Gittany was a controlling and abusive partner, who discouraged Ms Harnum from working, secretly monitored her phone and email and alienated her from her friends.

She had planned to the leave him days before her death, witnesses have told the trial.

Gittany says they had a complicated but loving relationship and that he tried to save her as she climbed onto the balcony in the midst of a fight.

He has been supported each day of the trial by his parents, siblings and new girlfriend.

 

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