Mark Lundy has been found guilty of the murder of his wife and daughter for the second time.

The jury - which deliberated for 16 hours over more than two days - returned the unanimous verdicts at a packed High Court at Wellington this afternoon.

Justice Simon France decided to sentence Lundy immediately. He reimposed the previous penalty after he was found guilty of the double murder in 2002 - life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 20 years.

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Timeline: 15-year search for justice for Christine and Amber
The eight key issues from the re-trial

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There was stunned silence in the courtroom after the verdicts were read. Lundy stood, mouth slightly open, before being led away. He was almost immediately recalled to the courtroom by Justice France who decided to sentence him.

Lundy returned to the courtroom similarly stone-faced and left without incident. Neither supporters nor detractors made any comment during the brief conclusion to the trial.

After imposing the sentence Justice France said he wanted to "make it plain" time previously served would be taken into account.

Mark Lundy with his wife and daughter, Christine and Amber. Photo / Supplied
Mark Lundy with his wife and daughter, Christine and Amber. Photo / Supplied

Lundy's sister Caryl Jones and her husband Dave left the court through a side door, but refused to say anything about the verdict.

They would also not say if they had spoken with Lundy.

Lundy's brother, Craig, said that today's verdict brought the family "some form of closure".

He said in a statement: "For the past few months we have had to relive the moment we were told a despicable human being took the lives of our much cherished sister-in-law Christine, and our beautiful niece, Amber.

"This has been an emotional roller coaster for us and while today brings some form of closure, the loss of our loved ones will always remain with us.

"We want to thank the police, particularly those who have worked tirelessly on the investigation from the outset. The outpouring of generosity and support from our family and friends has been incredibly humbling. Thank you for being there for us through those days where it seemed like there was no hope."

Christine Lundy's brother, Glenn Weggery, who has spent a lot of time listening and was accused by the defence team as another suspect in the murders, was not in court today to hear the verdict.

Following the verdict, Detective Inspector Marc Hercock acknowledged all the people who have assisted along the way.

"This has been an emotional and stressful time for Christine and Amber's family who have had to go through the whole judicial process again," he said.

"While this outcome by no means makes up for the loss of Christine and Amber, we hope it provides some form of closure. I want to acknowledge Crown Law and the investigation team who have worked diligently for more than 18 months, carefully reviewing evidence and preparing for trial, as well as the witnesses and experts who have contributed their time and expertise to this trial.

"The role of the police is to gather all information available, assess it for its relevance to the case and present the evidence gathered to the court and then leave it to the jury to make a decision."

Christine Lockett, friend of Christine Lundy, told Radio New Zealand that the jury's verdict today was "absolutely" and "well and truly" the right verdict.

"If he had been found not guilty it would've been just devastating," she said.

She said the re-trial had been "an upheaval" for friends and family.

She said Christine and Amber had justice.

"There's two very special people who are not with us today that should be here, but they're not, so this is justice for them."

She said she never wanted to see or speak to Lundy again.

"He is the most vulgar man on this earth as far as I'm concerned."

Lundy was freed on bail following the Privy Council decision and lived with his sister Caryl Jones and her husband Dave up until the retrial.

In contrast to their brother Craig Lundy, she believed in his innocence.

The couple were in court to support Lundy as the jury deliberated but have not commented on the guilty verdicts.

Tonight, Lundy's lawyer David Hislop, QC, said he had not considered an appeal of the guilty verdicts but did not rule it out once the "dust settled".

Prime Minister John Key said the jury had heard all the evidence and had "spoken quite clearly".

When asked by reporters in Wellington today about the number of cases that had been overturned by the Privy Council, Mr Key said: "Any of these kind of cases, whether it is Teina Pora or David Bain or Mark Lundy ... are high-profile cases and they get a lot of attention.

"But the stats show that the vast overwhelming bulk of decisions that are made by courts and judges and juries are correct."

Mr Key said New Zealanders could have "tremendous confidence" in the justice system.

"If you think about David Bain, Mark Lundy and Teina Pora, they span over two decades. People always accept that a good part of the judicial system is the opportunity for people to appeal if they genuinely believe the wrong verdict has been delivered.

"In this case, the jury has had an opportunity to hear all of the evidence again, strongly made by both sides, and they've spoken quite clearly."

Controversy from the outset

There was controversy from the outset of the trial when prosecutor Philip Morgan, QC, outlined the Crown's new version of events, which significantly differed from the first trial.

When Lundy was first convicted of the murders in 2002, the Crown said he had driven back to Palmerston North from Petone at breakneck speed on the evening of August 29, 2000 to commit the murders; returning to his motel outside Wellington with similar haste before hiring a prostitute that evening.

The new theory had the drive back taking place more than five hours later, in the early hours of the following day, after sleeping with the escort.

Despite the new circumstances, it was the same result as the jury believed Lundy was the one who hacked his wife Christine and 7-year-old daughter Amber to death in their home with a tomahawk-like weapon.

Police carry the body of 7-year-old Amber Lundy from her family home in Palmerston North in August 2000. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Police carry the body of 7-year-old Amber Lundy from her family home in Palmerston North in August 2000. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Mr Morgan said the defendant had tried to make the slayings look like a robbery gone wrong but the evidence told a different story.

"This has got all the hallmarks of an inside job. No part of this demonstrates a random burglary," he said.

"The pattern of blows - bang, bang, bang - across the face. He was trying to obliterate her face wasn't he? What person, other than someone who definitely wanted her dead would've done such a thing?

"Who kills a women lying flat on her back in her bed? And who kills a little girl? She was 7 for heaven's sake. Was she really going to identify a random burglar?" Mr Morgan said.

After spending nearly 13 years in prison, Lundy's case came before the Privy Council in Britain, which ruled in October 2013 the convictions were "unsafe" and a retrial was ordered.

One of the key reasons the ruling was made was because of perceived problems with the testing of central nervous system tissue found on the defendant's polo shirt.

Mark Lundy is supported as he leaves the funeral service for his wife and daughter in 2000. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Mark Lundy is supported as he leaves the funeral service for his wife and daughter in 2000. Photo / Mark Mitchell

But Mr Morgan, in closing, said the plethora of medical experts' evidence pointed quite clearly to Lundy being the killer.

"Put it all together and Mark Lundy has Christine Lundy's brain on his shirt. Put aside all the other evidence for a moment. It's brain tissue and Christine Lundy. Not an animal. There is no other rational explanation other than he is the killer."

The jury agreed.

The minimum sentence for murder is life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years.

The final bill to taxpayers for the Lundy case is expected to be at least $5 million. More than $1.1 million has already been spent on legal fees for Lundy's two trials - and multiple appeals - and the total will soar once the Crown and defence lawyers submit their final invoices for the retrial which entered a seventh week.

The legal aid bill for the defence is expected to top $2 million, mostly for expert witnesses to examine the contested brain and DNA evidence gathered by police.

The defence team of David Hislop, QC, Ross Burns and Julie-Anne Kincade can each charge $159 an hour under the legal aid rates, which is a fraction of their private charge rates.

Lundy's lawyers were denied legal aid funding ahead of the Privy Council hearing in 2013, where they were successful in overturning Lundy's convictions. But they were later successful in applying for the Crown to pay their legal costs of $720,551 - and to pay London solicitors $24,325 to represent them.

Nearly $160,000 has already been paid to Philip Morgan, QC, the lead Crown prosecutor, for his work until the third week of the trial but that figure does not yet include various appeals heard beforehand. He is being paid at the Crown rate of $198 an hour, although a Queen's Counsel can normally command hourly fees of around $1000.

His right-hand man Ben Vanderkolk cannot charge for his time as he is bulk-funded as the Crown Solicitor for Palmerston North.

On top of the expected legal bill of more than $3 million paid by taxpayers is the cost of two complex police investigations, which scoured the globe for experts to identify tissue on Lundy's shirt.

The total bill for Operation Winter - the original homicide inquiry - and Operation Spring - the second inquiry following the Privy Council ruling - is being calculated by police to be released under the Official Information Act. Including staff time, it is likely to be millions of dollars.

By comparison, the police investigation into the murder of Feilding farmer Scott Guy cost $694,773 and did not include hours billed for 92 staff.

On top of that is the estimated $1.2 million to keep Lundy in prison for 13 years.

Lundy trial: 15-year search for justice


August 29, 2000: Christine Lundy, 38, and daughter Amber, 7, are murdered in their Palmerston North home.

February 23, 2001: Mark Edward Lundy is charged with two counts of murder.

March 20, 2002: Lundy denies the double slaying but is found guilty after a six-week trial.

April 12, 2002: Lundy is sentenced to life imprisonment and told to serve 17 years in prison before he can apply for parole. Justice Anthony Ellis said his crimes violated in the "most horrendous way, the security of the family and the obligation that in this case, a father has to his partner and their child - and a child of tender years."

August 12, 2002: Court of Appeal rejects Lundy's bid to have his convictions quashed and instead lifts his minimum non-parole period to 20 years. In lengthening the sentence, the three justices said the evidence suggested he planned the killing of his wife carefully and must have appreciated that Amber would witness the murder. "She must have died with the awful injuries to her mother as her last living memory ... we have to say that Mr Lundy's murder of his daughter in these circumstances, coming on top of the murder of his wife, requires denunciation and demonstration of society's abhorrence at a very high level".

2003: Businessman Geoff Levick meets a small group of supporters who believe Lundy is innocent.

2004 - 2007: Levick spends thousands of hours researching the case.

2009: North & South magazine publishes 18-page spread questioning the evidence which convicted Lundy.

2010: Levick approaches John McLinden, QC, in London to take appeal to Privy Council.

2011: McLinden introduces Levick to fellow New Zealander Dave Hislop, QC, in London and Malcolm Birdling, studying miscarriages of justice at Oxford, who take on the case.

2012: Appeal filed to the Law Lords and hearing granted.

June 2013: Three-day appeal heard by Privy Council in London, including New Zealand Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias. The appeal hinged on seven grounds, the most crucial being a challenge to the reliability of the science used to identify DNA matter found on Lundy's shirt as brain tissue, the time of death and when the Lundy family computer was switched off.

October 2013: Privy Council overturns convictions and orders a retrial. The Law Lords found the new evidence put forward by the defence team was credible and "presents a direct and plausible challenge to a central element of the prosecution case". Lundy released on bail to live with his sister.

February 2015: Retrial of Lundy begins at the High Court at Wellington in front of Justice Simon France and a 12-person jury.

April 1 2015: Jury considers its verdict.

Key quotes from the retrial

PHILIP MORGAN QC (CROWN PROSECUTOR)

"Who kills a women lying flat on her back in her bed? And who kills a little girl? She was 7 for heaven's sake. Was she really going to identify a random burglar?"

"This has got all the hallmarks of an inside job. No part of this demonstrates a random burglary."

"The pattern of blows - bang, bang, bang - across the face. He was trying to obliterate her face wasn't he? What person, other than someone who definitely wanted her dead would've done such a thing?"

"This man must have been under terrible pressure with impending bankruptcy ... and a very unhappy wife. And so the only way he could get himself out of this dreadful business was if his wife was dead. He didn't need to worry about getting her on board with this foolish expedition into the wine business."

"Put it all together and Mark Lundy has Christine Lundy's brain on his shirt."

"Put aside all the other evidence for a moment. It's brain tissue and Christine Lundy. Not an animal. There is no other rational explanation other than he is the killer."

DAVID HISLOP QC (LUNDY'S LAWYER)
"It very much looks like the intruder's purpose was the attack. The stealing of jewellery was probably opportunistic. Why would the intruder attack her? Who knows? Mistaken identity? Deranged? Psychotic?"

"To suggest a man who had just brutally bashed the brains out of Christine Lundy would not gratuitously club Amber to death is nonsense. The difficulty we have here is the prosecution are trying to suggest there's some rationality in these people who commit murders like that."

"What would be achieved by killing Christine Lundy? She was the fulcrum of the business, the only one that was bringing income into the house."

"What builder's tool do the prosecution say he used to murder his wife? A hammer? A screwdriver? A chisel? A plane? We waited and waited and there was no answer. The silence was deafening. The simplest of questions has never been answered by the prosecution."

"This is not a forensic jousting match, this is about this man's [Lundy's] life."

"Of course there were two horrible horrible deaths, of course there was brain everywhere. The fact brain was found on his shirt is not the end of the story."

"It's an exciting time for forensic science ... but [Mark Lundy] is not a laboratory rat - something to try something on."

MARK LUNDY
"Do you think I killed them? Bloody terrible. I'm lost for words - that has got to be the most heinous thought that I can think." (said in police interview)

WITNESS X (INMATE)
"[Lundy] said he wouldn't be there if his daughter hadn't come out and seen what he had done to his wife."

CRAIG LUNDY (DEFENDANT'S BROTHER)
"He mentioned that once they found out they couldn't have children, Christine went off sex and it was up to three months without having sex."

"He told us that he had got a bottle of rum and drunk about half the bottle. He was celebrating; I assumed it was a work-related thing ... later that night, he had called a prostitute, and had used one on four occasions prior to that."

MARIA NORELLE (DEFENDANT'S SISTER-IN-LAW)
"[Christine] was concerned about the cost of partying and the influence it would have on Amber. She had said she wanted Mark to give up drinking for three months to see if he could."

NEELTJE BOERE (DEFENDANT'S CLIENT)
"If he has a problem he'll sort it out immediately ... I've never seen him lose his temper. He's very gentle and very nice."

CAROLINE DURHAM (AMBER'S GODMOTHER)
"I'd say it was quite grim on the financial front. My understanding was they were paying a lot in interest ... it wasn't a happy picture. It was Mark's project ... I don't think [Christine] was very happy."

GLENN WEGGERY (CHRISTINE'S BROTHER)
"I hung up the phone and went down the hallway. [Amber's] head was cracked open at the back. Blood was everywhere. Brains ... I saw Christine on the bed ... I didn't go into the bedroom."

KAREN KEENAN (CHRISTINE'S FRIEND)
"Amber was lying in the doorway and she was face down and the back of her head was matted and bloody. There was a huge pool of blood and there was blood all round the walls and roof."

- additional reporting Nikki Papatsoumos, Rebecca Quilliam and Jared Savage