27 Feb 2015

Paint flakes focus of Lundy evidence

5:43 am on 27 February 2015

The defence team for murder accused Mark Lundy has highlighted the absence of paint flakes on his clothes, vehicle and motel room.

Mark Lundy.

Mark Lundy. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr 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:

  • DNA was found under two fingernails each of Mrs Lundy and Amber; one from each was identified as their own but that found under the other fingernails was not a big enough sample to allow for identification.
  • Amber had turned to flee her parents' bedroom when she was first struck by a tomahawk-like instrument; the attack continued while she was on the floor.
  • Mrs Lundy's body was removed from the scene through a window which had been taken out, so as not to disturb evidence in the house.
  • Orange and blue paint fragments which visually matched those found on Mr Lundy's tools were found in the blood and pieces of skull washed from the victims' bodies.
  • Smears on Mr Lundy's shirt were found to contain blood from Mrs Lundy, and one also had a "lump of brown substance" on it.
  • Blood spots identified as belonging to Amber were also found on Mr Lundy's shirt.

Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research (ESR) forensic scientist Bjorn Sutherland yesterday 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, and in "debris" taken from Amber's body.

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

But defence lawyer David Hislop, QC, questioned Mr Sutherland on why no paint fragments were found on Mr Lundy's clothes, in his car or in the motel room he stayed in the night his wife and daughter were killed.

"I'm right, aren't I, as far as you're aware, absolutely no paint fragments in his clothes, vehicle, motel room," he said.

Mr Sutherland agreed none were found but said he had not conducted any examinations which would find any.

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.

However, Mr Hislop questioned the finding of such small amounts, saying witnesses had described the crime scene as having "f***ing blood everywhere" so surely the assailant would expect to have a considerable amount of blood on their body.

As well, no traces of blood or tissue had been found on items such as Mr Lundy's glasses or ring, or in his hotel room, he said.

Mr Sutherland agreed the assailant would have blood on their clothes.

Mr Hislop also questioned the way Mr Lundy's shirt was handled, asking why it was not folded in tissue paper to stop anything transferring instead of being dropped into a bag inside out.

But Mr Sutherland said he had never seen or heard of tissue being used with clothing exhibits, and that it would be hard to complete cases in a "timely fashion" if such an approach was used.

"I would think that that is an over the top approach," he said.

"Efficiency and time constraints to your mind trump care. Is that what you're saying?" Mr Hislop responded.

The trial in the High Court at Wellington, before Justice Simon France and a jury of seven men and five women, continues.

  • Court told of body removal
  • Christine Lundy's blood on walls
  • Horrors of Lundy home revealed
  • Police careful with Lundy crime scene - officer
  • Evidence challenged at Lundy trial
  • * Clarification - For the avoidance of doubt, please note that Radio New Zealand reporter Sharon Lundy is no relation to Mark Lundy.