Lundy to be tried for murders

By ALISON HORWOOD

Scout leader and businessman Mark Edward Lundy has been sent to trial on charges of murdering his wife of 18 years, Christine, and their only child, Amber, aged 7.

Following a depositions hearing in the Palmerston North District Court, Lundy, aged 42, stood in the dock and was asked by Justices of the Peace George Hills and Neil Johanson whether he wanted to plead guilty to the murders.

"No, definitely not," he said.

His defence counsel, Mike Behrens, QC, said he had no submissions to make at this stage, and accepted that the Crown had produced sufficient evidence to put Lundy on trial.

Lundy left the court escorted by prison guards, turning briefly to smile at his sister and give a small wave.

He spent the four-day hearing sitting quietly in court, but reacted to forensic evidence relating to Amber by bowing his head and squeezing his eyes shut.

Prosecutors say Lundy killed Christine, aged 38, and Amber, with a tomahawk-like weapon in their Palmerston North home on the evening of August 29 last year.

Yesterday, a forensic scientist, Bjorn Sutherland, told the court how he spent six days examining the four-bedroom home Lundy and Christine bought in 1986.

Christine's naked body was found lying in the queen-sized water bed she shared with Lundy. She had suffered extensive injuries to her face and head - one incision was 8cm deep - and defence wounds to her hands and arms.

Dr Sutherland said there was an "explosive pattern of splatter" of blood, tissue and brain matter, which extended across the bed, walls, the ceiling and curtains.

The matter stretched to the ceiling, 2.4m above the floor, and 3.2m along the wall, consistent with a blood-stained implement being swung diagonally along the bed.

A wooden spoon Christine kept nearby for her own protection was blood-stained.

The Crown has already said her attacker probably stood at the edge of her bed.

He was intimate enough to enter the master bedroom and approach without causing alarm.

Prosecutors say Christine was dead or near-dead when Amber got out of her bunk across the hallway and wandered into the master bedroom.

As a witness, she was probably pursued and caught by her attacker.

Clad in a singlet and nightie, her body was found lying in a large pool of blood in the doorway of her parents' bedroom.

Blood splatters extended down the hallway to a height of 2m, and into Amber's bedroom and a spare room.

Dr Sutherland said that in his opinion, Amber received the first blow from behind as she was leaving the bedroom.

Spray patterns on the hallway indicated she received further injuries to the head while on, or near, the floor.

In other evidence, forensic scientist Susan Vintiner told the court how she was asked to complete a paternity test for Amber.

Mark Lundy was the likely father and not his brother, Craig Lundy, the court heard.

Lundy has been remanded in custody until early next month, when a date will be set in the Palmerston North High Court for trial.

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