10 Feb 2015

Defence accuses brother-in-law

4:24 pm on 10 February 2015

The defence team of murder accused Mark Lundy has today accused his brother-in-law, Glen Weggery, of killing seven-year-old Amber Lundy and her mother, Christine.

Mr Lundy, is charged with murdering Mrs Lundy, 38, and Amber, whose bodies were found bludgeoned to death in their Palmerston North home on the morning of 30 August 2000.

Mr Weggery, the first witness for the prosecution and Mrs Lundy's younger brother, was the person who found the bodies and this morning told the court the house had been dark, with the curtains pulled and no lights on.

Mark Lundy on the opening day of his trial at the High Court in Wellington.

Mark Lundy at the High Court in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

He had gone into the house through an open door about 8.45am and, getting no response, headed for the office, thinking Mrs Lundy might be there.

However, as he turned "I saw Amber lying facedown at the far end of the hallway".

He didn't approach her, instead immediately calling emergency services, telling them he needed help and "needed to report a murder".

He asked if he could check whether Amber was okay and, when they agreed, went up the hallway to check her pulse.

"Her head was cracked open at the back. I knelt beside her, picked up her left wrist and felt for a pulse."

He found none and, looking up and into the master bedroom, saw his sister lying on the bed.

Defence counsel David Hislop, QC, this morning outlined Mr Weggery's 111 call, in which he said Amber had "gaping head injuries".

"On your account, you wouldn't know if she had gaping head injuries or not because you hadn't been up to the body," Mr Hislop said.

"I suggest you knew she had gaping head injuries because you were the one who hit her on the head."

Mr Weggery replied: "I'm not going to answer that."

Mr Hislop told the court Mrs Lundy had woken during the attack on her and tried to fend off her attacker; he then asked Mr Weggery if his sister had tried to fend him off.

Mr Weggery: "No she did not, because I never went in the bedroom, and I'm not going to sit here and be accused of it."

Mr Hislop put it to Mr Weggery his sister had "found out you'd been doing something you shouldn't have been doing" and asked if there were problems with his relationship with Amber. He also asked Mr Weggery if he ever baby-sat Amber or was ever alone with her, to which he replied "no".

Mr Hislop then suggested he did not baby-sit Amber because he was not allowed to, and also that he had been accused of abusing a young relative some years earlier - an allegation Mr Weggery denied.

Mr Weggery, now 45, later said he was two to three years older than the relative, who was about 10 at the time Mr Hislop said the alleged abuse occurred.

"Did Amber interrupt you killing Christine?" He asked.

Mr Weggery: "No she did not, as I've said several times already."

When Mr Hislop replied she would know who he was, if that was what had happened, Mr Weggery replied: "Yes she would, as she would her father."

Mr Hislop had earlier asked why he had not gone straight to his niece when he first saw her lying in the hallway.

"I'm sorry but my first instinct was to call emergency services," he said.

Police had questioned Mr Weggery for three hours in 2000, Mr Hislop told the court.

"It was being suggested to you that the most natural thing in the world, instead of calling 111, would be to go to your niece and see if she was all right.

"Go to your niece and see if you could help her."

Mr Weggery replied: "That was their suggestion."

Mr Hislop said police had suggested he had not gone to her because he knew she was already dead, because he was responsible.

He also questioned why Mr Weggery did not call out for his sister when he saw his niece.

"I didn't think to call for her when Amber was lying on the floor with her head covered in blood," Mr Weggery said.

Mr Hislop told the court the police had used Luminol to test Mr Weggery's car for blood, and found some in the boot. As well, blood spots found in his bathroom contained DNA which was an 83 percent match to Mrs Lundy and 88 percent to Amber.

Mr Weggery said he "wouldn't know" where the blood in the car came from and that he knew "nothing about that" regarding the bathroom spots.

Mr Weggery earlier told the court he and his sister were "very close" and that he had known Mr Lundy before the pair had married 17 years earlier.

He visited the family at least once a week, and Mrs Lundy did his GST returns for his business, he said.

Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan QC, opens the trial.

Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC, opens the trial on Monday. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mark Lundy's lead lawyer David Hislop (left)  and Ross Burns (right).

Mark Lundy's lead lawyer David Hislop (left) and Ross Burns (right) Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The trial opened in the High Court at Wellington yesterday with Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC, saying the pair had suffered a "ferocious attack".

Key points from day one of the trial

Police charged Mr Lundy with their murders in February 2001 and his first trial took place in 2002. He was found guilty and jailed.

However, he was released in October 2013 after the Privy Council overturned his convictions and granted him a re-trial.

The re-trial started yesterday before Justice Simon France in the High Court at Wellington, with the Crown and defence both giving their opening arguments.

Mr Morgan said in his opening argument that Amber was killed when she walked into her parents' room and found her father attacking her mother.

"After all, who kills a little girl," he said.

But Ross Burns, opening for the defence, said Mr Lundy adored his daughter.

The Crown had also suggested the Lundys' relationship was not happy, due to financial difficulties and because they had a "sporadic" sexual relationship; Mr Burns said the latter reflected only Mr Morgan's take on a happy relationship.

The Lundy family lived a very public life and had many friends through such things as the theatre and the wine club they belonged to, he said. They and neighbours were in and out of each other's houses all the time, and Mr Lundy's mother-in-law regularly looked after Amber.

None of these people was aware of any strain on their marriage and, in fact, all said it was a loving and affectionate relationship and that Mr Lundy adored Amber, Mr Burns said.

About 145 witnesses will be called during the trial, which is being considered by a seven-man, five-woman jury, and is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.

* Clarification - For the avoidance of doubt, please note that Radio New Zealand reporter Sharon Lundy is no relation to Mark Lundy.