Case 16: The Lundy Murders (PROLOGUE)

PALMERSTON NORTH. MANAWATU. 30th of August 2000. 9.30am. Christine’s brother James Weggery arrived at 30 Karamea Crescent in the suburb of Kelvin Grove in Palmerston North. James knew Christine’s routine well, he knew she would be home after taking her 7-year-old daughter Amber to school. Although, James had been having difficulty getting Christine on the phone; he decided to just head over to her house. Christine had been working on the accounting for James’ trucking business and his taxes were due at the end of the month; today

James Weggery approached the Lundy residence. He knocked on the front door. No answer. James already knew Christine’s husband Mark would not be home as he was in Wellington on business but Christine was always home at this time. Furthermore, the curtains were still pulled and her car occupied the car port. James wandered the property looking for signs of life. Something’s wrong, something’s off; James thought. 

Visit www.truecrimenz.com for additional information on this case. Including a transcript of this episode, with supporting pictures, sources, and credits.

Hosted by Jessica Rust
Written and edited by Sirius Rust

Music sourced from:

Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
https://filmmusic.io/
“Come Play with Me”, “Day of Chaos”, “Heartbreaking”, “Long Note Two”, “Parting of the Ways – Part 1”
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

The podcast version is the intended way to consume this story but I make a transcript available for those that would rather read instead. This can be found below.

THE LUNDYS

Christine Marie Weggery was born on the 1st of May 1962 in Palmerston North in the Manawatu. She was one of four children to married couple Keith and Helen Weggery.

Christine’s mother Helen had been a Girl Guide. She was heavily involved with the group during her youth in Tokomaru; a small town southwest of Palmerston North. Helen enrolled Christine in the Guiding program at a young age. Christine began in Pippins, she quickly moved into the Brownies program, before eventually graduating into a full fledged Girl Guide at 9-years-old

Every year the Girl Guides and Boy Scouts would put on a theatrical production. This was known as a ‘Gang Show’. With a cast of up to 200; a Gang Show followed a revue format which included short sketches, songs and dances.

In 1978, Christine’s final year of Girl Guides; she participated in one of the dancing portions of the Gang Show. A man sat in the audience, he was smitten with Christine’s caper, “[she was a] Fantastic dancer.” That man was 22-year-old Mark Edward Lundy.

Four years later, in the Easter of 1982, the couple became betrothed and just over one year later in May of 1983 Christine Weggery became Christine Lundy.

Together the Lundys’ purchased the property at 30 Karamea Crescent; a modest house located in the suburb of Kelvin Grove in Palmerston North. To pay the mortgage Mark worked as a builder before starting his own kitchen sink business with his wife Christine — Marchris Enterprises Limited.

Mark became a travelling salesman; his work took him to Napier, New Plymouth and Wellington every couple of weeks. Christine would stay at home during this time; she was good with numbers and she would work the accounts for the business.

Christine occupied her free time reading, her favourite reads were Mills & Boon or the magazine tabloids. She was also an avid TV watcher, her favourite shows being Changing Rooms, Taste New Zealand and Shortland Street

AMBER GRACE LUNDY

What Christine really wanted was to be a mother. After many years of trying, in October of 1992 Christine discovered she was pregnant. Then on the 9th of July 1993, Christine was in her 20th hour of labour when she was given an emergency cesarean; Amber Grace Lundy was born at 1.25am in Palmerston North hospital.

Amber was the light of her parents’ lives. All that knew the Lundys’ would say this. She was a child full of life according to her father. Amber loved school, swimming and dancing. At 3-years-old Amber was enrolled at Rocket Dance Studios to pursue her love of dance, quoting Mark Lundy “She used to put on little concerts for us. We would be watching TV and she would appear in a pair of plastic shoes, and dress up with a little feather boa around her neck, and do a little dance.” Amber also become a third generation Girl Guide. Following in her grandmother and mother’s footsteps, enrolling in Pippins — attending very Tuesday.

Fig 1. Christine, Mark and Amber Lundy

In the years following the birth of Amber, Mark and Christine struggled to conceive another child. They decided not to try in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as they did not “believe in interfering with the body that much”. With this, the Lundys’ resigned themselves to the idea of being a single child home. With the option of having another child off the table, the Lundys’ sex life slowed down signifigantly. In reality, sexual intimacy was minimal; if at all.

Mark said at a later date, that even though their sexual relationship was ‘relaxed’; the lack of sex wasn’t an issue in their marriage and it didn’t bother him. He added that they rarely argued; concluding the relationship was “very good… [and] even grossed nieces and nephews out with public displays of affection”.

Nevertheless, evidently Mark had some lust for sexual intimacy. He would use the services of escorts while out of town on business trips. Mark said at a later date that even though his wife did not know about his extramarital indulgences and she would not be happy about it; he didn’t believe it would’ve ended their marriage.

WINEGROWERS LTD.

Mark Lundy was always a keen oenophile; a connoisseur of wine. Mark and Christine both belonged to the Manawatu and Bacchus wine clubs. Mark liked brag about his expert wine tasting ability; claiming he could name the label, year and vineyard of origin from just a taste. This love of wine extended into the process of making it. Mark dreamed of owning a vineyard and creating his own wine products. 

Mark made steps to fulfill that dream on the 28th of August 1999, when he placed an unconditional offer of $2,000,000 on two parcels of land in the fertile Hawke’s Bay region in the highly sought after ‘the triangle’ area; an area with plentiful river gravel that produces fruitful vines. The vineyard venture required an additional $500,000 for the grape vines; for a total investment of $2.5m. Mark put $10,000 down as a deposit; the remaining $2,490,000‬ was due in six months. 

How exactly was Mark going to obtain those funds? Investors. The venture was named Winegrowers Limited and Mark began the process of raising the funds. He was confident he had an investor from Britain that would be in for £500,000

Mark sent the potential investor an email setting out the terms for her big-hearted £500,000 investment. When the potential investor received the message over in the UK, she switched off the computer in horror, “I couldn’t even begin to respond to the email… It was so far out of my reality”. She was thinking of maybe making an investment of £2,000.

When the February deadline for the remaining balance came around; the money did not. Chris Morrison (who had sold one of the parcels of land to Mark) came calling, “I thought I’d better call him myself rather than hear second-hand his various excuses. I wanted to get to the bottom of it. He said there was no problem, apart from the excess of investors – he had such a surplus of them that he’d have to scale them back …” 

Having missed the initial settlement date of February the 28th; financial penalties began accruing for every missed deadline. Mark began accruing penalty interest of approximately $600 a day. Michael Porter (the man who facilitated the sale for the vendors) said that everytime he spoke to Mark; he was “very confident [he had the funds]…[Then] it became the end of April, end of June, July, until we got to August.”

In June of 2000, Mark was advised by an insurance representative from Tower Health to increase the cover on his own and Christine’s life insurance policy to $1,000,000 each. However, due to health complications of the couple including blood pressure, border-line diabetes and high cholesterol — Tower would only raise the policy from $205,000 to $500,000.

By August 2000, the Lundys were having ‘cash flow problems’. The kitchen sink business had grossed over $600,000 in sales over the year. Nevertheless, Mark was still over $100,000 in debt with the sink wholesaler and the August 30th deadline for the remaining $2,490,000 for the vineyard was quickly approaching.

On the 28th of August 2000. Michael Porter called Mark and told him that he had two days left to settle the remaining balance on the vineyard venture or the deal was off, “He said he needed more time. He had someone coming with the money. He said it was an English person. He was fairly vague… There was a feeling that it had come to an end. I felt that he had run out of puff trying to make it work”. By this point, Mark owed about $140,000 in penalty interest for being six months past settlement.

29 AUGUST 2000

Tuesday the 29th of August 2000. The morning of. Christine walked Amber the 800m around the corner to Roslyn Primary School

When she returned. Mark and Christine drove in separate cars to Lighting Direct to look at a lightshade for the spare bedroom that Mark had been painting, “I kissed Christine goodbye and left her to pay … and drove out of Palmerston North.”

Mark made the two hour drive to Lower Hutt. When Mark arrived in his blue Ford Fairmont; he got to work making business calls to clients around the Wellington region. 

3pm. Christine picked up Amber after school. They travelled together to Rocket Dance Studios for her dance class; there was an upcoming show and Amber had a costume fitting. Dance ended at about 4.30pm. Usually on a Tuesday after dance, Amber would attend Pippins but the meeting was cancelled on this day for reasons unknown. 

5pm. Mark checked into the Foreshore Motor Lodge in Petone; a suburb of Lower Hutt. Mark then travelled to the nearby Jackson Street Pak n Save; buying a roast chicken and a bottle of diet coke, before a final stop at the bottle store for a 1125ml bottle of rum. Mark journeyed back to the motel to consume his purchases.

5.30pm. Mark received a phone call. He answered, it was Amber, “Is it alright to have McDonalds for dinner? Please, dad?”. Her father replied “Of course you can”. “Thanks, Daddy!”. Amber handed the phone to her mother. Mark and Christine spoke about how the business was doing for a couple of minutes before ending the conversation. 

8.15pm. A business associate of Mark Lundys called but the phone went unanswered. Mark returned the call 15 minutes later from his motel room. 

11.30pm. A somewhat intoxicated Mark Lundy called The Quarry Inn escort agency. He ordered a prostitute to his motel — room 10.

11.45pm. The escort arrived at the waterfront motel. She knocked on the door, Mark answered. The escort gave the name Belinda; the first thing she noticed Mark stunk of alcohol, the 1.25l bottle of rum was about ¾ empty. However, Belinda noted he didn’t seem drunk. Belinda asked for her $140 upfront and Mark paid. The next hour consisted of an erotic massage accompanied by sex. 

An hour later. The transaction was complete.

BELINDA: “Well, I better phone for the driver”.
MARK LUNDY: “Use my cellphone”.
BELINDA: “Thanks”.

Belinda called the driver to be retrieved from the lodge; the driver said he was about five minutes away. Belinda checked her handbag for the $140.

MARK LUNDY:Any problems?”
BELINDA:No.”
MARK LUNDY: Okay bye.”

Mark got up from the bed and put on his green tracksuit pants.

MARK LUNDY: My name is Mark.”
BELINDA:So, what do you do, Mark?”
MARK LUNDY: Sell kitchen sinks and taps.”
BELINDA:Really?”
MARK LUNDY: I fax the order to my wife, and she does all the paperwork. It’s a very successful business — I’m the number-one salesman in the Lower North Island!”
BELINDA:Uh-huh.”

The driver arrived.

BELINDA:Well, good night.”
MARK LUNDY:Good night.”

30 AUGUST 2000

30th of August 2000. 9.30am. Christine’s brother James Weggery arrived at 30 Karamea Crescent. James had been having difficulty getting Christine on the phone; so he decided to just head over to the house. James knew Christine’s routine well, he knew she would be home after taking Amber to school. Christine had been working on the accounting for James’ trucking business and his taxes were due at the end of the month; today

James Weggery approached the Lundy residence. He knocked on the front door. No answer. James already knew Mark wouldn’t be home as he was in Wellington on business but Christine was always home at this time. Furthermore, the curtains were still pulled and her car occupied the car port. James wandered the property looking for signs of life. Something’s wrong, something’s off; James thought. 

James forced entry in to his sister’s house, keen to solve the mystery. He crept through the hauntingly muted home, he called “hello?”. Silence. 

As James was travelling through the living room he spotted something that made him freeze — it was Amber’s bloodied, unconscious body lying at the doorway of her parent’s bedroom; the 7-year-old’s bloodsoaked hair covered her face.

James immediately called 111, while waiting for emergency services to arrive; James slowly and carefully moved closer to his 7-year-old niece to look for any signs of life. As James arrived at Amber’s body; his eyes were drawn helplessly inside the master bedroom to a scene of hideous carnage; to the sight of a mutilated Christine Lundy lying naked on her bed — blood and gore splattered the walls and ceiling. When James was asked to describe what he saw that cold Winter morning peering into his sister’s bedroom; he replied, “brains.”

SOURCES

Books
Steve Braunias, The Scene of the Crime, 2015
Dr. Cynric Temple-Camp, The Cause of Death, 2017
North & South, Murder (We Wrote), 2015
North & South, Murder (We Wrote) #2, 2018

Articles
Crime.co.nz, The Lundy Murders, http://www.crime.co.nz/c-files.aspx?ID=10286
Geni, Christine Marie Lundy, https://www.geni.com/people/Christine-Lundy/6000000105512584972
Scouts NZ, Gang Shows, https://www.scouts.org.nz/National-Events/Gang-Show
Murderpedia, Mark Edward Lundy, https://murderpedia.org/male.L/l/lundy-mark.htm
Wikipedia, Lundy Murders, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lundy_murders
NZ Herald, Lundy murders: A girl and her mum, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11426578
NZ Herald, Lundy retrial: Small details build picture of suburban tragedy, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11401820
NZ Herald, Mark Lundy retrial: Trial turns to money matters, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11403069
NZ Herald, Mark Lundy trial: 15-year search for justice for Christine and Amber, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11426571
Factual Trust, The Murders of Christine and Amber Lundy. Was it really Mark?, https://web.archive.org/web/20190205021108/http://www.lundytruth.co.nz/areas-of-doubt.html

Podcasts
The Evidence Locker, New Zealand – The Lundy Murders, https://evidencelockerpodcast.com/2018/09/10/13-new-zealand-the-lundy-murders/

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