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Lundy 2

By Steven | February 12, 2009

Here’s one thing the prosecutors could have said to White about the Lundy case: Lundy filled his gas tank in Wellington. The fuel warning was flashing when he got back to Palmerston North. How did Lundy manage to empty the tank in one normal-speed trip back to Palmerston North plus a bit of driving in Wellington? Wasn’t Lundy’s initial explanation that some of it might have been siphoned off a bit implausible? He didn’t pursue that theory at trial, and has never been able to explain where that petrol went.

White’s article does note that the Crown also faced a petrol problem. How does Lundy hoon up to Palmerston North and back to Wellington, then back to Palmy again the next morning on one tank? Speeding burns more fuel.

Of course, if Lundy wasn’t hooning back and forth, then three trips between PN and Wellington, plus a bit of driving in Wellington, would almost exactly empty his tank. But that would mean that he couldn’t have committed the murders around 7pm, making that miraculous return trip. He would have had to do it, say, in the middle of the night, when he could drive sensibly and no-one would notice him. And he would have arrived after the neighbour saw the light and after the computer had been switched off, so he wouldn’t have needed Joe-90-like expertise to jiggle the timing mechanism…

This was not the case presented by the Crown. But it does potentially explain away almost all the problems raised in White’s article… except the problems White identifies with the fraction of brain matter from Amber on Lundy’s clothes. Its presence there doesn’t make much sense. It seems extremely improbable that it was preserved the way it was. It seems highly unlikely that it would have got there in the first place. It doesn’t seem clear that it was necessarily brain DNA.

I admit, I haven’t seen all the evidence in the case either. I’m not sure how far some DNA on a speck of dubious provinance, some missing petrol, and some odd behaviour by Lundy get you toward “beyond reasonable doubt”. But this scenario now strikes me as more plausible than the one presented by the Crown. 

Topics: General | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Lundy 2”

  1. ross Says:
    February 13th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Maybe Lundy’s car leaked fuel, maybe he did a lot of driving in Wellington earlier in the day, maybe fuel was siphoned, though I understand his car was fitted with a device which prevented that.

    White’s article suggests that the murders may have been committed after 7pm, a time that was key for the prosecution because it fitted nicely with their theory that Lundy could’ve been in Palmerston North at that time. However, if the murders were committed around 11pm – as suggested in the article – then I understand it couldn’t have been Lundy.

  2. Steven Says:
    February 13th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Why not?

  3. ross Says:
    February 13th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Will answer your question later but I got the following from the site, whose accuracy I cannot vouch for.

    North & South correctly state that Lundy had used about 58 liters since filling up the day before. He was known to have driven approx. 65km in and around the Hutt valley and Wellington city, and then 150km in his very fast drive home on August 30th, that is 215km in total. This works out to be a fuel consumption of 27 liters per 100km which seems high. However, the police checked with a Ford Technical Service Engineer as early as September 6th and he is recorded as saying “it would be possible for this type of vehicle to use approx. 58 liters of petrol if the vehicle was to travel between 50 and 100km around town at speeds of up to 50km/hr and then 150-170km at speeds averaging 140km/hr”. So, there is no “missing petrol” at all. This Ford engineer was not called as a Crown witness, for obvious reasons, and the jury did not get to hear about his opinion.

  4. Steven Says:
    February 13th, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    It’s probably not a great idea for me to speculate on things outside my area of expertise, particularly when I’m not even familiar with the context of all the evidence. And I’m not trying to say that Lundy is guilty. But I can get to Tauranga on a tank of gas from Wellington. 215k on a full tank? I mean, really? (Besides, I thought White’s article shows how it’s basically impossible for him to be averaging 140kph on the return trip).

    What’s more: why did he feel the need to say some of it might have been siphoned, if not conscious of a discrepancy?

  5. Ian Llewellyn Says:
    February 13th, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I did not cover the case, but followed it fairly closely. The judge’s summing up was very good from memory.
    He pretty much cut to the chase and said there was lots of disputes about the driving, the timing etc… But a piece of his wife’s brain was in his car boot. The defence did not dispute this or offer any explanation for how it might have got there. That is from my memory only though

  6. ross Says:
    February 15th, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Well, I guess it depends on what sort of car you drive and how you drive it. I agree that the reference to 140kph is odd – maybe he drove at that speed when he was in Wellington and Palmerston North over the two day period. As for the siphoning, I think you’re being a little unfair. Police may have asked Lundy for an explanation; he may have been genuinely unsure as to how he used so much petrol, especially if police were telling him that he should’ve had more in his tank. If Lundy was looking for an answer – other than to say “don’t know” which may not have looked good – then siphoning seems like a reasonable explanation (notwithstanding that the car apparently had an anti-siphoning device – are such devices foolproof?).

    As for your earlier question, I don’t have White’s article in front of me. But my understanding is that Lundy used his cellphone in Petone at a time which meant he couldn’t have been in Palmerston North at 11pm. The police may have preferred that he was in PN at that time because it would’ve bolstered the eyewitness evidence (lights on in the house around that time) and evidence that the computer at Lundy’s home had been switched off just before 11pm. Instead, police argued that Lundy was a computer whizz who manipulated the clcok on the home computer.

  7. ross Says:
    February 15th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    One more point re the 140kph. White essentially said that averaging 140kph was imposible during peak hour traffic – when Lundy allegedly drove home. However, when he did drive home the day after the murders, he wasn’t driving during peak hour traffic, so maybe he could’ve driven at that speed.


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