12 Feb 2015

'Holy shit, what's happened?'

6:07 pm on 12 February 2015

"Holy shit, what's happened?" Those were the words of Mark Lundy to friend Stuart Durham, who had just told him to get home as there was police tape around his house and an unexplained death in Palmerston North.

Mark Lundy at the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday.

Mark Lundy at the High Court in Wellington on Wednesday. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Christine Lundy, 38, and her seven-year-old daughter, Amber, were found in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000. They had been bludgeoned to death.

Mr Lundy, 56, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the pair.

Key points from day four of the trial

Mr Durham today told the High Court at Wellington he had headed to the Lundy home after his wife, Caroline, received a call from Mr Lundy asking if she had talked to his wife or knew where she was.

The Durhams had also heard of an unexplained death in the city, so Mr Durham headed around to his friends' home.

He told the court of seeing police tape around the Lundy home and ringing Mr Lundy.

"I told him that he'd better get his arse home," Mr Durham said.

Mr Lundy replied: "Holy shit, what's happened," and his voice changed to one of panic.

Mr Durham said it sounded as if Mr Lundy was already on his way home as he was abusing traffic and he could hear cars around him.

Police then told him to get off the phone as Mr Lundy's father, the late William Lundy, was trying to call him.

The Durhams were Amber's godparents and Mrs Durham this afternoon told the court she believed the Lundy finances were "quite grim".

Mrs Lundy was a private person and preferred not to talk about the family finances, she said.

However, she had the impression it was "quite grim on the financial front".

"My understanding was they were paying quite a lot in interest."

Earlier this afternoon, the court was told a neighbour had called Mr Lundy to say there was trouble in his street and he should get home immediately the day the bodies of his wife and daughter were found.

Milvia Hannah, who at that time owned Wellington kitchen and bathroom design business International Interiors Ltd said Mr Lundy visited her business briefly about 11.30am on 30 August.

She was not expecting him and was meeting clients at the time so spent only about five minutes talking to him.

He was happy, smiley and chatty, as he usually was, she said in her statement at the time.

However, he wanted to keep chatting despite her having clients waiting in her office.

"He just wanted to do idle chit chat, which was a little odd," she said.

On a return visit about a month later, Mr Lundy told her he had been trying to get hold of Mrs Lundy that morning without success and that as he was leaving her business a neighbour rung him to say there was "trouble in his street and he should return".

He indicated to Ms Hannah that he had immediately headed to Palmerston North.

Earlier today, the court was told a man called "Mark" booked a prostitute from Lower Hutt agency late on 29 August.

A woman, whose name is suppressed, told the court she was sent to the Foreshore Motor Lodge in Petone about 11.45pm on 29 August to see the man, who paid her $140 cash before chatting to her about his business, wife and daughter.

The woman told of seeing a three-quarters empty bottle of rum in the room, and agreed with the defence she had previously said he "stunk" of alcohol.

However, she also agreed with the prosecution that he did not appear to be affected by alcohol. He was pleasant the whole time, she said.

The man was wearing green tracksuit pants.

The woman was picked up by her agency's driver at 12.48am.

Police allege Mr Lundy left the Foreshore Motor Lodge on the night of 29 August - after seeing a prostitute - drove to Palmerston North, killed his wife and daughter, then returned to the motel.

The court was this morning told Mr Lundy usually checked out of the motel about 9-9.30am but on 30 August he checked out at 8.09am.

The manager that day said he did not appear to have any unusual marks on him.

Businessman Cecil Taylor, who also stayed at the Foreshore Motor Lodge, told the court he noticed a blue Ford had disappeared from the car park between 6pm and 9pm.

Mr Taylor told the court he noticed a blue Ford parked in the motel carpark about 6pm when he left to go out to a concert. He took note because parking was tight and he knew he would have to parallel park when he got back from the concert - "I wasn't really looking forward to it".

However, when he returned about 9pm the blue Ford was gone.

Police allege Mr Lundy parked on the road outside the motel, rather than in its carpark, so his car would not be heard starting up in the night; a witness yesterday told of seeing a late model dark blue Ford Falcon parked in the street, and another said Mr Lundy had a blue Ford Falcon in August 2000.

The trial, before Justice Simon France and a jury of seven men and five women, is expected to run for 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.

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