The Court of Appeal has dismissed Mark Lundy's appeal against his conviction for the murder of his wife and daughter.

A decision his lawyer says is inevitably one that Mr Lundy will ask the Supreme Court to review.

The current appeal was the latest in a long-running legal saga, since Christine and Amber Lundy were found brutally killed in their Palmerston North home in 2000.

The pair were hacked to death, likely with an axe or tomahawk, but the murder weapon was never found.


On the night of their murders Mr Lundy was checked into a motel in Petone where he called an escort about 11.30pm.

It was fiercely contested during his first trial whether or not it was physically possible for Mr Lundy to have travelled between Wellington and his family home in a time that would have allowed him to be in the house at the time of the murders.

Mr Lundy was first convicted of their murders in 2002, and his first appeal attempt resulted in the court increasing the non-parole period of his life sentence to 20 years.

His conviction was quashed by the Privy Council in 2013, which ruled there were problems with the analysis of the brain tissue found on Mr Lundy's shirt, as well as with the time of death.

In a 2015 retrial at the High Court in Wellington, Lundy was again convicted of the murders.

The Lundy family.
The Lundy family.

He appealed this to the Court of Appeal in October last year.

Today, the court rejected that appeal.



The Crown argued Mrs Lundy's brain tissue was found on the polo shirt Mr Lundy wore on the night of the murders.

Tiny spots consistent with dried blood were also found on the shirt which were found to contain Amber's DNA.

The Crown contended that Mrs Lundy's injuries would have been afflicted by someone who had developed an "intense antipathy towards her" and pointed towards financial pressures taking a toll on the couple's relationship.

A key change in the Crown case between the two trials was that it abandoned an early evening time of death.

It came on the back of the Privy Council concluding there was "a welter of evidence" available from a number of highly reputable consultants which, if accepted, would nullify the claimed scientific support for the time of death which was so central to the Crown case.

At the heart of the defence appeal was that the jury at the 2015 retrial should never have heard the mRNA evidence, as the analysis was too new and unproven to be relied upon.


The mRNA evidence, which is similar to DNA evidence, was used to rule if the tissue on Mr Lundy's shirt had a human or non-human source.

The Court of Appeal agreed the mRNA tracing was inadmissible but it did not accept it had prevented the defence from arguing the tissue had found its way onto the shirt through food.

The court was satisfied Mr Lundy would still have been convicted and that the trial was fair.

"In the end we have been left sure of Mr Lundy's guilt," the decision - handed down by Justices Helen Winkelmann, Mark Cooper and Raynor Asher - read.

Mr Lundy's sentence – life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years - will continue.

In a statement today, Jonathon Eaton QC said Mr Lundy was, of course, very disappointed at the outcome of the appeal.


"Mr Lundy has long argued that for whatever reason his case has become the testing grounds for novel science," Eaton said.

"It was the novel use of the IHC [Immunohistochemistry] that lead to a successful appeal against conviction before the Privy Council back in 2013 and it was novel use of the mRNA evidence that was the primary focus of the 2017 appeal.

"The Court of Appeal has found that the mRNA evidence was wrongly admitted at his 2015 retrial."

The lengthy Court of Appeal decision concluded that notwithstanding the wrongful
admission of "strenuously contested" evidence it did not give rise to a "substantial miscarriage of justice" and did not make the trial unfair, he said.

"That decision raises important issues and is inevitably one that Mr Lundy will ask the
Supreme Court to review.

"In those circumstances any further comment on behalf of Mr Lundy is not appropriate."