20 Feb 2015

Trial focuses on Mark Lundy's car

2:04 pm on 20 February 2015

A detective involved in investigating the deaths of Christine and Amber Lundy has told of finding a striped size XXL polo shirt in murder accused Mark Lundy's car.

Mark Lundy - Day three of the trial.

Mark Lundy - Day three of the trial. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Lundy, 56, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife and daughter, Christine, 38, and Amber Lundy, whose bodies were found in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000. His retrial, before Justice Simon France and a jury of seven men and five women, is in its second week in the High Court in Wellington.

The Crown contends he killed his wife for her insurance money, and his seven-year-old daughter because she saw what he was doing to her mother.

Key points from day 10:

  • Clothes found in a suit bag in Mark Lundy's car included a striped polo shirt and green tracksuit pants.
  • Also found in the car was a silver bracelet with a knot in it.
  • Defence raises questions about where in the car the bracelet was found, and when.
  • Officer who reached into Mark Lundy's car to unlock steering wheel so it could be pushed into storage admits he was not wearing protective clothing at the time, and could not recall if he was wearing gloves.
  • Forensic accountant Reginald Murphy recalled to court and asked about a laptop.

Inspector Sean Hansen, who was then a detective in Palmerston North, told the court today he was tasked with examining Mr Lundy's car, which had been seized and was in a lock-up garage at the police station.

He wore protective gear for the task, during which he found a black suit bag holding several clothing items, which he put into exhibit bags.

They included a striped XXL polo shirt, green tracksuit pants, underwear and socks.

On the opening day of the trial, the prosecution said a polo shirt seized from Mr Lundy's car was later found to have two spots of central nervous system tissue on it.

Mr Hansen was questioned about when he found a silver bracelet with a knot in it, and where he found it.

He recorded it as being found on the front passenger seat of the car on 3 September but did not put it into an exhibit bag until 18 September.

Mr Hislop said he showed Mrs Lundy's friend, Maria Norrelle, the bracelet on 10 September.

"Something's gone wrong, hasn't it. You can't have seized that bracelet on the 18th of September if you're showing it to a woman eight days earlier," he said.

Mr Hansen said he could have taken the bracelet out of the car to show Ms Norrelle, and then put it back in.

"That's what I may have done. I accept that it's probably not best practice."

Mr Hislop also asked why the bracelet was not photographed where it was found, and suggested Mr Hansen was "making this up as you go along" - which Mr Hansen rejected.

Mr Hansen said he asked Mr Lundy about the silver bracelet but he said he had not seen it before.

Mr Lundy told him he assumed it was his wife's and that it had been amongst a "handful of jewellery" she grabbed from her jewellery box before they left for a business trip to Hamilton about two weeks before the deaths.

The jewellery box was the only item taken from the Lundy house during when Mrs Lundy and Amber were killed.

Mr Hansen also asked several of Mrs Lundy's friends about the bracelet but none had seen it before.

He told the court he had found several keys in Mr Lundy's car, including one to the back ranchslider at the family home. Mr Lundy told him it was one of only two which existed.

Mr Hansen said Mr Lundy was not being treated as a suspect in the early stages of the investigation.

"At that stage Mr Lundy was a victim. His wife and daughter had been killed," he said.

Inspector Brent Amas, who was a constable in Palmerston North in 2000, also gave evidence this morning and told of being called back from an armed offenders' squad training day to oversee the removal of Mr Lundy's car from the side of the road to a police garage.

The car was winched on to a tow truck and taken to the station, where Mr Amas unlocked it and put the key into the ignition to unlock the steering. He and Constable Marie Lamberth then "pushed and pulled" it to get it into the garage.

Defence lawyer David Hislop asked Mr Amas whether he had been wearing protective clothing, and said he must have been taught "every contact leaves a trace".

Mr Amas said he had become aware of that mantra but that he was not wearing protective clothing at the time.

He could not remember whether he was wearing gloves, prompting Mr Hislop to ask: "Are you doing your very best to help this jury."

When Mr Amas said he could not remember whether he had released the handbrake, Mr Hislop remarked:

"Something else that you're not sure of. Not a case of you don't want to tell me you got into that car to release it?"

Mr Amas said it was not.

The defence today recalled witness Reginald Murphy, a forensic accountant, to ask him about visiting the Lundy home.

He could not remember a lot of detail around the visit but agreed his notes from the time showed he wanted to look at a laptop but could not do so until it was given to him by forensic computer analyst Maarten Kleintjes.

Mr Kleintjes told the court last week he did not remember a laptop.

Mr Murphy today said he was able to examine a laptop on 27 September 2001.

The trial continues.

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

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