23 Feb 2015

Jurors view crime scene photos

5:20 pm on 23 February 2015

Murder accused Mark Lundy needed help from a member of Victim Support the first time he returned to his home after his wife and daughter were killed there, the High Court in Wellington has been told.

Mark Lundy - Day three of the trial.

Mark Lundy on the third day of his trial at the High Court in Wellington Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mark Lundy, 56, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Christine and Amber Lundy, whose bodies were found in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000. They had been bludgeoned to death.

Mr Lundy's retrial, before Justice Simon France and a jury of seven men and five women, is in its third week in the High Court in Wellington.

The Crown contends he killed his 38-year-old 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 11:

* The Lundys' cleaner, Rowena Collett, noticed "tension" between the Lundys when she went there to do her regular weekly clean on 28 August and felt like she was interrupting something.

* Neighbour Tupe Tupai said he heard the sound of smashing glass between 11pm and midnight on 29 August. He also noticed the sliding door to the conservatory was partly open about 11pm.

* Jurors see photos of the crime scene, which show blood and tissue splattered on floors, walls and ceilings.

* Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Hughes said Mrs Lundy was "unrecognisable" due to the injuries she sustained.

* Mark Lundy needed help from a Victim Support member when he returned to his home for the first time after the deaths.

Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Hughes, who was in charge of control and security at the Lundys' home, told the court Mr Lundy returned to his home on 15 September accompanied by Mr Hughes, a Victim Support member and another police officer.

"He was hesitant as we were progressing through the house and on one occasion he needed the assistance of Mr Murray to support himself," Mr Hughes said.

"It took him some time to compose himself as we went further into the house."

When he eventually went into the master bedroom - which Mr Hughes had earlier said was "almost out of proportion to the rest of the house in terms of the activity that occured in there" - he immediately noticed Mrs Lundy's jewellery box was missing.

"He didn't appear to have looked around the room any further than that...," Mr Hughes said.

Mr Lundy later commented to Mr Hughes he was pleased something had been stolen.

Also this afternoon, jurors viewed graphic photos of the bludgeoned bodies of Mrs Lundy and Amber, which showed blood splattered up ceilings and on walls.

Justice France warned jurors before they saw the photos that while every effort had been made to minimise their impact, "they do show the deceased as they were in the house".

Mr Hughes told the court how and when the photos were taken, including the use of stepping plates to make sure the scene was not contaminated. Anyone at the scene had to use the plates to step on, and all were wearing paper overalls and plastic gloves and booties.

Mr Hughes said Amber's head and shoulders were protruding out of her parents' bedroom doorway. She was face down and there was heavy blood staining on her, the floor, walls and surrounding doorway.

From there Mr Hughes looked into the bedroom.

"My first observation was that there was a naked woman lying on the bed. There was a large amount of blood around her" and in and around the bedroom, he said.

"I would say that she was unrecognisable because of the injuries that she had sustained."

Mr Hughes had earlier said all personnel involved in investigating the scene had worn protective clothing, booties and gloves.

However, defence lawyer David Hislop, QC, had a video played to the court which showed someone in the lounge of the house - apparently watching TV - who was not wearing protective gear.

A second video showed two officers leaving the house, neither of whom was wearing booties or protective overalls.

Mr Hughes recognised him as the officer who had been charged with fingerprinting the house.

However, "he wasn't examining at that point, and that's my point", he said.

Neighbour heard smashing glass

Earlier today, a Lundy family neighbour told the court he heard smashing glass between 11pm and midnight the night before the bodies were found.

Tupe Tupai and his partner lived in a sleep-out next door to the Lundy family; his partner's mother and two sisters lived in the house.

Mr Tupai told the court today he noticed the Lundys' sensor light was on when he took a call from his father in Samoa about 11pm, lighting up his backyard.

He also noticed a sliding door in the conservatory was part-way open.

He finished his phone call just after 11pm and between then and midnight noticed a crashing noise from outside.

"The sound of smashing glass," he said.

"I had no idea where it came from."

However, he did not go out to check as it was a cold and windy night.

Cleaner noted 'tension'

Earlier today, Rowena Collett told the court she noticed "tension" between the Lundys when she went there to do her regular weekly clean on 28 August.

Ms Collett cleaned the family's home for about three hours a week for three years and said Mrs Lundy was usually there but not Mr Lundy.

However, both were home when she arrived to work about 1pm on 28 August.

"I felt a bit of tension as I walked in," Ms Collett said.

She went into the house via the conservatory at the back, which the trial has earlier been told was known as the "messy corner". However, on 28 August it was tidier than usual, and things were packed away, she said.

Mr Lundy was making a sandwich, while Mrs Lundy was at her sewing machine.

Ms Collett said she mostly dealt with Mrs Lundy but that Mr Lundy asked her to do a couple of hours' work folding pamphlets for him on two occasions.

They chatted a little and he told her the pamphlets were for potential shareholders in the Lundys' proposed vineyard development.

"It didn't seem to bother him if it didn't work. He would go bankrupt," she said.

Under cross-examination from defence lawyer David Hislop, Ms Collett agreed with her police statement taken just after the deaths that she "felt a bit uncomfortable around Mark that day. I didn't want to make eye contact with him as I felt that I was interrupting him".

Mr Hislop put it to her that that was because Mr Lundy was a busy man but Ms Collett disagreed.

"I felt tension in the air. I felt like I'd interrupted something," she said.

Mr Hislop also questioned Ms Collett about her statement on 5 September 2000, in which she said she had noticed a white car driving slowly past the Lundys' house on 28 August.

"The car drove past Christine's house and seemed to slow," Ms Collett's statement said.

She noticed two men in the front and a woman in the back "who seemed to take a real hard look at the house".

Ms Collett today said she vaguely remembered it.

Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan read more of Ms Collett's statement from 5 September, in which she said: "I just thought she was being nosey."

He asked her if there was anything remarkable about the event, and she replied: "No."

The trial continues.

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