26 Feb 2015

Court told of body removal

9:27 pm on 26 February 2015

A window was taken out of the Lundy home to get Christine Lundy's body out so as not to disturb evidence, the High Court at Wellington has been told.

Mark Lundy

Mark Lundy Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mark Lundy, 56, is accused of murdering his 38-year-old wife, Christine, and seven-year-old daughter, Amber, whose bodies were found in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000; the Crown claims Mr Lundy killed his wife for her insurance money and Amber because she saw what he was doing to her mother.

Key points from day 14:

Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research (ESR) forensic scientist Bjorn Sutherland was today questioned by defence lawyer David Hislop, QC, about steps taken to mitigate the risk of contaminating the scene.

Mr Sutherland said he regularly changed his disposable overalls and monitored his own and those of others for signs of any matter on them.

Mr Hislop questioned him about his role in the removal of Mrs Lundy's body from the house, to which he said a window was removed and her body was passed through it.

The decision to do that was because they did not want to disturb evidence in the house, Mr Sutherland said.

"We were concerned that we wouldn't be able to get the body out on stepping plates," he said.

Mr Hislop persisted, saying the process of trying to put a "very large, or large-ish, lady, into a body bag, with a mutilated face, would be a pretty messy business", and that there would have been blood and brain tissue all over the hands of the people trying to do it.

Mr Sutherland replied: "I'm not sure how messy that process was. I haven't noted that it was messy."

Earlier, Mr Sutherland told the court Amber was trying to flee her parents' bedroom when she was hit by a tomahawk-like instrument.

Mrs Lundy was lying in bed when she was attacked, while the first blow to Amber occurred as she was "upright and leaving the master bedroom".

"Amber Lundy then received further blows to her head while on or near the floor," Mr Sutherland said.

Some of the Mrs Lundy's blood was found on Amber's leg and nightie, and Mr Sutherland believed it had been transferred there from the "assailant's hands, clothes or instrument".

Mr Sutherland also told the court blood from both Mrs Lundy and Amber was found on a shirt seized from Mr Lundy's car.

He found two smears on a striped XXL polo shirt seized from Mr Lundy's car, one white and the other "whiteish-brown", the first 25mm by 10mm in size and the second 30mm by 20mm. The latter also had a "lump of brown substance" in it.

"In both cases, the stains had the appearance of being caused by a surface with the substance on it coming into contact with the fabric," Mr Sutherland said.

Both smears were examined and tested and were found to come from Mrs Lundy.

The shirt was also tape lifted - whereby sticky tape is applied to a surface to collect anything on it - and small red particles found. Three spots were cut out of the tape lifts and tested.

"This testing showed that the biological material in the sample could have come from Amber Lundy," Mr Sutherland said.

Earlier in the trial, Mr Lundy's defence team said DNA found under Mrs Lundy's fingernails had never been identified.

However, Mr Sutherland said a sample from under Mrs Lundy's left fingernail was not big enough for a DNA profile to be obtained.

Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) forensic scientist Bjorn Sutherland.

Forensic scientist Bjorn Sutherland. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

DNA found under a right fingernail was found to belong to Mrs Lundy.

DNA was also found under two of Amber's fingernails; one was identified as belonging to her or Mrs Lundy, while the other sample was not big enough to identify.

Mr Sutherland also told of finding numerous blue and orange paint chips in the blood and pieces of skull washed from Mrs Lundy's body; they were also found in the sheet taken from her bed.

The prosecution had previously told of Mr Lundy's habit of painting his tools with orange and blue paint to identify them as his own.

Mr Sutherland said the paint appeared to match paint on a crescent spanner taken from the Lundy family home for comparison.

"I drew the conclusion that there was a good correspondence by eye," he said. A colleague agreed.

Some chips were then sent to ESR in Auckland for further analysed.

Blue paint chips were also found in "debris" taken from Amber's body, including in skull fragments, Mr Sutherland said.

  • Mark Lundy trial: blood spattered on walls
  • Horrors of Lundy home revealed
  • Police careful with Lundy crime scene - officer
  • Mark Lundy trial: the first week
  • Mark Lundy trial: the second week
  • * Clarification - For the avoidance of doubt, please note that Radio New Zealand reporter Sharon Lundy is no relation to Mark Lundy.