A pleasant Mark Lundy, stinking of alcohol and dressed in green trackpants, paid a prostitute $140 before chatting to her about his wife and child.
Nine hours later that wife and child were found dead.
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, who is on trial in Wellington High Court, pleaded not guilty to murdering the pair.
Key points from day four of the trial
Yesterday a former prostitute, whose name has been suppressed, told High Court at Wellington her Lower Hutt agency sent her to a client called "Mark" at the Foreshore Motor Lodge in Petone about 11.45pm on 29 August and she was picked up about an hour later.
He paid her $140 cash up front, and she used his cellphone to call her agency and let them know she was okay.
The man chatted about his business, his wife and his child, even told her how his wife did the accounts for their kitchen sink business.
There was a three-quarters empty bottle of rum in the room, and the man "stunk" of alcohol, she said.
However, she also agreed with the prosecution that he did not appear to be affected by alcohol, and said he was pleasant the whole time.
Police allege Mr Lundy left the Foreshore Motor Lodge on the night of 29 August - after seeing the prostitute - drove to Palmerston North, killed his wife and daughter, then returned to the motel.
Mr Lundy's close friend, Stuart Durham, yesterday said 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.
He had sounded quite panicked when she said she had not and that, together with the fact the Durham's had heard of an unexplained death in the city, prompted Mr Durham to head to the Lundy 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.
The Durhams were Amber's godparents and Mrs Durham told the court 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."
The police claim Mrs Lundy's life insurance and, therefore, an end to financial pressure prompted Mr Lundy to kill his wife and that Amber was killed because she saw him doing it.
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.