The end. The end of any doubt in the eyes of the law that he was the killer, the end of any hope that he was going to be proven innocent. The end for Mark Edward Lundy came at two minutes to four yesterday afternoon at the Wellington High Court when the pretty forewoman of the jury stood and said, twice, softly, "Guilty".
• Lundy murders: A girl and her mum
It ends an incredible but futile campaign to clear his name and release him from prison - Justice Simon France imposed an immediate sentence on Lundy, and sent him back to rot in jail for the remainder of his life sentence. It ends, and vindicates, a massive police investigation which was named Operation Winter during the first inquiry into the killings of Christine and Amber Lundy on August 30, 2000, and renamed Operation Spring when they went at him a second time after his conviction was thrown out in 2013 by the Privy Council.
Lundy's retrial began on February 8. Perhaps it truly finished on Tuesday, when the jury returned to the courtroom to view two film clips made by police. The end was nigh for Lundy at that exact moment; the mood in his legal defence team plummeted; they could see the writing on the wall, because of all the things the jury chose to re-examine, all the brilliant science of blood stains and stomach contents, what they actually wanted to watch was a police video made of Lundy apparently lying his head off.
Towards the end of the video - Lundy had come into the Palmerston North police station to be interviewed by Detective Steve Kelly - a dramatic thing happened. "The day has come," Kelly said. "We've got to do it."
Lundy was wearing shorts and a yellow T-shirt. The two men sat around a table. There was a clock on the wall. Kelly brought out a stack of photographs; they were taken of Christine and Amber, dead, covered in blood - their lives had ended in terror, at night, in Christine's bedroom, both of them slaughtered.
Lundy recoiled. He whimpered, groaned loudly, made strangled kind of screams. He covered his face. "Yuk," he said. He bowed his head. Was it the horror of a man who has seen how terribly his wife and daughter suffered? Or was it fairly pathetic acting, a lame attempt to mime the response expected of an innocent man?
Kelly got up and awkwardly rubbed Lundy's shoulders. Lundy said, "I hate you now" - and two of the jurors, who were actually watching Lundy in the dock, exchanged a wide smirk.
In fact one of the jurors spent the entire video watching Lundy in the dock. He didn't look at the video at all. At another point, the forewoman turned suddenly around to him, and they nodded, and smiled.
What was all that about? Who can read a jury? Perhaps they were looking at other things in the video. Maybe it had nothing to do with Lundy's exhibition - did he actually cry? - and more to do with other subjects the two men covered in the interview. But they could simply have read the transcript. The jury, or however many members of the jury, requested to see the video again because they wanted to look at the way Lundy behaved.
They deliberated for 16 hours. They put a lot of thought into it. They would have considered the brain or spinal cord tissue stained on Lundy's shirt, the lurid story of a midnight rambler making his journey under cloak of darkness from Petone to Palmerston North, the claims of a jailhouse confession; they would have weighed up the confident assertions made by Lundy's defence that he simply didn't have petrol to make his so-called "killing trip", that Christine and Amber's full stomachs meant he can't have been in Palmerston North at the time of their deaths, that he loved his family.
The last statement is the worst one if it was false. Maybe that's what got him in the end. Perhaps the jury thought they saw through it, that he was just an angry creep who did it for the oldest cliche in homicide - a life insurance cheque.
The end was quick and brutal. Word came through that the jury had reached its verdict. Court staff allowed lawyers into courtroom one, then the media, and then the public. Justice France took his throne. The jury entered. The registrar said, "Place Mark Edward Lundy before the court." He came in through door S8 and gave his sister a smile; she sat behind him with her husband. He stood with his hands behind his back. "Guilty," said the forewoman, on the two counts of murder. The end, on a beautiful day in autumn, of the miserable story of the Lundy murders.
Read Steve Braunias' full coverage of the Mark Lundy re-trial here:
• February 10: The evidence, and the defence
• February 11: Defence heat on Lundy's brother-in-law
• February 14: Small details build picture of suburban tragedy
• February 17: Trial turns to money matters
• February 18: Numbers rule court on day seven
• February 21: Two scenarios of fateful night laid out for Lundy jury
• March 3: Police video silent and terrifying
• March 4: Lundy's polo shirt: The forensic evidence
• March 5: Digging into the details
• March 7: Ghosts haunt the courtroom
• March 17: Dr Pang's long day in court
• March 18: Shirt centre stage
• March 19: Lundy confessed to me - prisoner
• March 21: The night they died
• March 28: Lundy's last chance
• March 31: Superb summation in Lundy case