11 Feb 2015

Lundy trial: Witnesses tell of finding bodies

11:09 am on 11 February 2015

Karen Keenan took one look at the body of close friend Christine Lundy's daughter and knew immediately the police were needed, not an ambulance, the High Court at Wellington was told today.

Mark Lundy on the first day of his trial.

Mark Lundy - pictured here on the first day of his trial. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mrs Lundy and her seven-year-old daughter, Amber, had been bludgeoned to death in their Palmerston North home. Her husband, Mark Lundy, is charged with their murders.

Key points of day two of the trial

Mrs Lundy's younger brother, Glenn Weggery, found their bodies after going to their home about 8.45am on 30 August and immediately called an ambulance.

But when Mrs Keenan, who had been friends with Mrs Lundy since they met at a children's playgroup, arrived for their regular walk and saw Amber's body in the hall she knew she was dead.

Mrs Keenan said "we don't need an ambulance, we need the police" and rang 111, Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan told the court.

On that call to the police she reportedly said there was "blood everywhere".

Mr Lundy rung while Mrs Keenan was still in the house and she answered.

"He asked to speak to Christine and I looked at Glenn and said along the lines of 'he wants to talk to Christine'."

The police officer there with them told her to say they would call him back, so she told him Mrs Lundy was "a bit tied up" and would call him back.

Mr Lundy said he was in Lower Hutt and available on his mobile phone. He did not ask why she was answering instead of his wife, Mrs Keenan said.

Mark Lundy's lead lawyer David Hislop (left)  and Ross Burns (right).

Mark Lundy's lead lawyer David Hislop (left) and Ross Burns (right). Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mrs Keenan said she and Mrs Lundy walked together several times a week but said her friend was a private person.

However, she had revealed in April 2000 the Lundys were paying $600 a day interest on a winery venture they were involved with.

Mrs Keenan asked her how she slept at night, to which Mrs Lundy said: "It was all right, that Mark was sorting it out with investors."

The Crown has contended financial pressure, and the prospect of a life insurance payout, drove Mr Lundy to murder his wife and that he killed his daughter when she saw him doing it.

Brother blamed

But earlier today Mr Lundy's defence counsel, David Hislop QC, accused Mr Weggery of being responsible for their deaths.

Earlier today, Mr Weggery - the first witness for the prosecution - told the court he had gone into the darkened house through an open door about 8.45am and, getting no response, headed for the office, thinking Mrs Lundy might be there.

However, as he turned "I saw Amber lying facedown at the far end of the hallway".

He didn't approach her, instead immediately calling emergency services, telling them he needed help and "needed to report a murder".

He asked if he could check whether Amber was okay and, when they agreed, went up the hallway to check her pulse.

"Her head was cracked open at the back. I knelt beside her, picked up her left wrist and felt for a pulse."

He found none and, looking up and into the master bedroom, saw his sister lying on the bed.

Mr Hislop this morning outlined Mr Weggery's 111 call, in which he said Amber had "gaping head injuries".

"On your account, you wouldn't know if she had gaping head injuries or not because you hadn't been up to the body," Mr Hislop said.

"I suggest you knew she had gaping head injuries because you were the one who hit her on the head."

Mr Weggery replied: "I'm not going to answer that."

Mr Hislop told the court Mrs Lundy had woken during the attack on her and tried to fend off her attacker; he then asked Mr Weggery if his sister had tried to fend him off.

Mr Weggery: "No she did not, because I never went in the bedroom, and I'm not going to sit here and be accused of it."

Mr Hislop put it to Mr Weggery his sister had "found out you'd been doing something you shouldn't have been doing" and asked if there were problems with his relationship with Amber. He also asked Mr Weggery if he ever baby-sat Amber or was ever alone with her, to which he replied "no".

Mr Hislop then suggested he did not baby-sit Amber because he was not allowed to, and also that he had been accused of abusing a young relative some years earlier - an allegation Mr Weggery denied.

Mr Weggery, now 45, later said he was two to three years older than the relative, who was about 10 at the time Mr Hislop said the alleged abuse occurred.

"Did Amber interrupt you killing Christine?" He asked.

Mr Weggery: "No she did not, as I've said several times already."

When Mr Hislop replied she would know who he was, if that was what had happened, Mr Weggery replied: "Yes she would, as she would her father."

Prosecution team Ben Vanderkolk (left) and lead prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC.

Prosecution team Ben Vanderkolk (left) and lead prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Hislop had earlier asked why he had not gone straight to his niece when he first saw her lying in the hallway.

"I'm sorry but my first instinct was to call emergency services," he said.

Police had questioned Mr Weggery for three hours in 2000, Mr Hislop told the court.

"It was being suggested to you that the most natural thing in the world, instead of calling 111, would be to go to your niece and see if she was all right.

"Go to your niece and see if you could help her."

Mr Weggery replied: "That was their suggestion."

Mr Hislop said police had suggested he had not gone to her because he knew she was already dead, because he was responsible.

He also questioned why Mr Weggery did not call out for his sister when he saw his niece.

"I didn't think to call for her when Amber was lying on the floor with her head covered in blood," Mr Weggery said.

Blood found

Mr Hislop told the court the police had used Luminol to test Mr Weggery's car for blood, and found some in the boot. As well, blood spots found in his bathroom contained DNA which was an 83 percent match to Mrs Lundy and 88 percent to Amber.

Mr Weggery said he "wouldn't know" where the blood in the car came from and that he knew "nothing about that" regarding the bathroom spots.

Mr Weggery earlier told the court he and his sister were "very close" and that he had known Mr Lundy before the pair had married 17 years earlier.

He visited the family at least once a week, and Mrs Lundy did his GST returns for his business, he said.

The trial is before Justice Simon France and is expected to last eight to 10 weeks.



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