Journalist views on Lunday

Steve Braunias writes in the NZ Herald:

Maybe it was absolutely correct but I think the verdict was a gross injustice. I don’t think he did it.

Always interesting to hear from someone who sat through the entire trial.

But it’s more that I just can’t accept that Lundy behaved as if nothing had happened after killing his adored and precious daughter. …

The guilty verdict means we have to believe that he killed her because she walked in on her father murdering her mother.

“Nah,” said his lawyer, David Hislop QC, when I spoke with him two days before the verdict. “He’s too weak. Doesn’t have the balls.”

If one accepts that he never intended to kill Amber, it would have been an awful decision on what to do when she walked in. Do you kill your daughter or go to jail for killing your wife? Did he not think of the possibility she would walk in? What if he had worn a balaclava?

I think we all struggle with the thought that a man can kill his daughter. We understand that people sometimes kill their partners, but not their children.

However also hard to think why anyone else would have killed Amber, if it was a burglary gone wrong?

The article by Braunias is interesting. He spent a day a week over the summer with Lundy.

But a different view from another journalist, as reported by Stuff:

Fourteen years ago, Mark Lundy invited a journalist and photographer into his home for his only interview. His wife and daughter had been hacked to death just three months earlier and, unknown to the public, Lundy was the prime suspect. But as Ben Heather reports, even then Lundy seemed a bad actor.

Photographer Kevin Stent knocked on Mark Lundy’s front door and heard a scuttling inside.

After days of back and forth, Lundy finally agreed the previous day to be interviewed, and Stent had returned to take a photograph earlier that morning – but now it appeared he was backing out.

Eliciting no response, Stent walked around the house to find Lundy in the backyard. His hands were clasped together against his face in prayer and he was mumbling to himself, seemingly oblivious to Stent’s presence even as the camera clicked.

“But I just felt like he was doing it for me. Like it was completely contrived,” Stent recalls 14 years later.

Maybe he got to be a better actor over the last 14 years?

After praying, Lundy invited Stent inside and the theatrics continued as they spent several hours together. Stent says at one point Lundy suddenly lay on the ground in a “dead ant” pose with his legs and arms in the air, wailing. Later he walked into a closet, closed the door and screamed.

Seems incredibly contrived.

During that interview in 2000, Lundy told Johns how, since his wife’s death, he would go to the cemetery with a bottle of her favourite wine: Alpha Domus sauvignon blanc. He would sit at the grave and pour two glasses, taking a sip from each one. Amber was not left out. He took some fizzy drink for her. “And while I was out there, a woman put her hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Mark, the whole of Palmerston North is with you’.”

He barely left the home for the guilt since his family had left, he claimed.

But, at his first trial, the juries heard a very different story. It was revealed that, far from being a recluse, Lundy was planning a second 21st birthday and was regularly seen drunk at social events after murdering his family. Six weeks after their death, he even found time for the services of a prostitute.

While I respect Steve Braunias sat through the trial, I have to say I think the jury got it right.


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