25 Feb 2015

Horrors of Lundy home revealed

7:05 am on 25 February 2015

It was, the police said on the opening day of Mark Lundy's trial for the murder of his wife and daughter, a "modest little home" in Palmerston North.

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

Yesterday the High Court jury, who must decide whether Mr Lundy killed Christine, 38, and seven-year-old Amber Lundy, got a glimpse into that modest little home and the horrors it held on 30 August 2000, when the bodies of the pair were found.

Key points from day 12 of the trial:

  • Police adamant the crime scene was appropriately protected against contamination, with staff using stepping plates and wearing protective gear.
  • A red substance later identified as blood was found on a window at the Lundy family home.
  • Police checked the windows of neighbouring properties for any damage, or flattened grass around them, which could point to "peeping and peering" in the neighbourhood.
  • Jury shown video of the crime scene, with the heads of Mrs Lundy and Amber pixelated.
  • Officer tasked with finding a jewellery box similar to Mrs Lundy's was unable to do so despite extensive inquiries and advertising.

The defence had raised the spectre of contaminated evidence, saying a video of the crime scene showed investigators were not in full protective gear. One video, which it showed in court, showed someone sitting in the Lundy family lounge watching television.

The prosecution moved to show officers were, in fact, in the required gear and using stepping plates to move around the scene so as to preserve evidence.

It did that by playing a video taken of the crime scene, taken on 30 August.

Amber and Mrs Lundy's bodies were pixelated but the pools and splatters of blood and bodily tissue were not; in the master bedroom, where Mrs Lundy lay in her bed, the walls and ceiling told of the ferocity of the attack.

Police photographer David Andrews took that video and yesterday told the court he wore police overalls, paper booties and latex gloves when he did so.

"I was careful to step on the plates. I did not step off the plates at any time," he said.

The stepping plates went only as far as the master bedroom doorway, where Amber's body was lying, so Mr Andrews stood on the plates in the doorway and used the camera's zoom.

Mr Andrews was asked about the second video, which showed the police officer watching TV in the lounge. He said he did not take that video, and it was not from 30 August.

Earlier yesterday, defence lawyer David Hislop, QC, questioned Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Hughes, who was in charge of control and security at the Lundy home on steps taken at the home to ensure evidence was not contaminated.

Mr Hughes said stepping plates were used by personnel to ensure they did not step on evidence on the floor.

However, Mr Hislop pointed to a photo apparently taken without a stepping plate; Mr Hughes said the photographer had moved the stepping plate "very carefully" and then taken the photo.

"Do you remember this, or is this something you're making it up as you go along," Mr Hislop asked.

Mr Hughes replied he was "confident that at no stage did we go off those stepping plates".

Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC, asked Mr Hughes about the stepping plates and protective gear, and showed footage of an officer on a stepping plate wearing gloves and police overalls.

He also pointed out photos in which the stepping plates were visible and asked how officers used them to move around a crime scene.

Mr Hughes said it was challenging and likened it to "boulder hopping" across a river.

"You can move from point A to point B with X amount of plates," he said.

"I know that we used them at all times."

The trial, before Justice Simon France and a jury of seven men and five women, is expected to take eight to 10 weeks in the High Court in Wellington.

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