11 Mar 2015

Blood found not a match, court told

5:26 pm on 11 March 2015

Blood found in Christine Lundy's brother's home was not a match to either Mrs Lundy or her daughter, Amber, a forensic scientist says.

Mark Lundy.

Mark Lundy. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Key points from day 22

  • American pathologist Allen Gown said tissue on Mr Lundy's polo shirt was "unequivocally" central nervous system tissue.
  • Blood smears found on a window at the Lundy home were 450,000 million times more likely to have come from Mrs Lundy than from someone unrelated and chosen from the population at random, Auckland forensic scientist Susan Vintiner said.
  • Blood found in the home of Glenn Weggery - Mrs Lundy's brother - not a match to either Mrs Lundy or Amber, Ms Vintiner said.
  • Ms Vintiner DNA tested two smears found on Mr Lundy's polo shirt and found it matched Mrs Lundy.
  • Mark Lundy, 56, is accused of murdering his 38-year-old wife, Christine, and seven-year-old daughter, Amber. Their 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.

    Mr Lundy is on trial in the High Court at Wellington, where earlier in the trial his defence team questioned Mrs Lundy's brother, Glenn Weggery, over blood found in his home.

    Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research forensic scientist Susan Vintiner this afternoon told the court blood found in Mr Weggery's home was from an unknown female - and that it did not belong to either Mrs Lundy or Amber.

    Ms Vintiner DNA-tested blood smears found on a window at the Lundy home as well as two smears found on Mr Lundy's polo shirt - which earlier witnesses have said was brain or spinal cord tissue from the central nervous system.

    She found it to be 450,000 million times more likely to be from Mrs Lundy than from someone unrelated and chosen from the population at random.

    Earlier today, Allen Gown, who is medical director and chief pathologist at PhenoPath Laboratories in Seattle, said he was asked in 2013 and 2014 to review slides of tissue found on Mr Lundy's polo shirt.

    Fellow American pathologist Rodney Miller had already used an immunohistochemistry (IHC) technique in 2001 and 2014 to conclude the matter was from the central nervous system. The technique had been recognised since the early 1990s.

    Crown prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC, today asked Dr Gown what he found when he tested the slides.

    "My opinion is that the tissue unequivocally represents central nervous system tissue," he said.

    "I don't know of any other tissues that would yield that pattern."

    CNS tissue could come from the brain or spinal cord, Dr Gown said via audio visual link.

    He was cross examined by defence lawyer David Hislop, QC, who asked whether it was possible for him to determine what gender or species the CNS belonged to, to which he replied he could not.

    Dr Miller, who is Director of Immunohistochemistry at ProPath Laboratory in Dallas, Texas, yesterday said tests he ran on the tissue in 2001 and 2014 all gave results "exactly as we would expect for brain tissue".

    Mr Lundy's retrial, before Justice Simon France and a jury of seven men and five women, is in its fifth week and is expected to go for at least eight.

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

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