20 Mar 2015

Initial Lundy murder suspect discussed

5:43 pm on 20 March 2015

A man initially considered a suspect in the murders of Christine and Amber Lundy did not like Mrs Lundy, the High Court at Wellington has been told.

Mark Lundy week four 18/03/15

Mark Lundy in court this morning. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mark Lundy, 56, is accused of murdering his 38-year-old wife and seven-year-old daughter, 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.

But defence lawyer Ross Burns, QC, has questioned Detective Jennifer Curran about another man who was initially considered a suspect in the case and who has name suppression.

The man had worked with Mrs Lundy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and an informant told the police the man had stalked a female employee there. The informant said the man "knew Christine Lundy and disliked her", Mr Burns said.

The man was involved in a stabbing in the 1990s and subsequently received treatment at MidCentral Health under the Mental Health Act. There, he told a mental health worker he would poke a woman in the eye if she did not stop spreading rumours about him, and also talked about wanting to kill a man, Mr Burns said.

Ms Curran confirmed the man was considered a suspect and agreed that he had said he was at home asleep - in the same suburb as the Lundys - on 29 August. However, his parents, who he lived with, said they could not be sure he was there all night.

The man refused to give a blood sample so police sought a court order compelling him to do so.

Earlier today, a German forensic scientist who disputed the methods used to identify what the Crown said was brain matter on Mr Lundy's polo shirt today praised the laboratory in which that work was done, saying it is highly professional.

Dr Marielle Vennemann yesterday said she did not believe the methods which the Netherlands Forensic Unit used to test were the shirt were fit for purpose.

Under cross-examination today, she agreed a number of laboratories in Europe and elsewhere had worked together to test those methods and had successfully been able to isolate specific tissues from a range of samples.

But Dr Vennemann said that technology was at the same stage as DNA testing was 20 years ago, and more work was needed before it is used forensically.

The Crown case will wrap up next week with a video of Mr Lundy's police interview.

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