Mark Lundy trial hears of couple's mounting debts

Mark Lundy planned to use a life insurance payout to settle a big debt, a former business associate told the court today.

The witness has told the High Court in Wellington that Mark Lundy’s kitchen company was struggling with debt. Source: 1 NEWS

Witnesses at Lundy's trial also gave details of the accused and his wife's growing debts of tens of thousands of dollars.

And the court heard Mark Lundy suffered a stress attack over finances weeks before his wife and daughter were killed.

Christine, 38, and Amber, 7, were killed in their Palmerston North home in 2000.

Crown witnesses claim Lundy was out of pocket and running out of time in the weeks before his wife and child were killed.

Mark and Christine ran a kitchen sink company from the family home and one of their key suppliers told the court the Lundy business was under-capitalised and in debt.

"The debt never seemed to get below plus or minus a hundred thousand dollars, it was sometimes a bit more, sometimes a little less," Robert McLachlan said.

Witnesses say the Lundys' decision to set up a vineyard in Hawke's Bay put the couple under more financial strain.

Mr McLachlan's wife Dianne said Christine Lundy wasn't happy with the venture.

The court heard Mark Lundy had signed an unconditional agreement to buy the land which witnesses say was worth $1.2 to $1.8 million. The settlement date was looming and witnesses say Lundy would owe tens of thousands of dollars in penalty interest.

Mark Lundy had offered investors parcels of shares but the uptake was slow and witness Ross Hadwin said if that didn't improve it looked as though the venture would fail.

The Lundys' accountant, David Hopping, told the court about a conversation he had with Christine Lundy two to three weeks before her death.

"She told me Mark had a bit of a stress attack one evening," Mr Hopping said.

Five months after Christine and Amber were killed, Mr McLachlan told the court he had a conversation with Mark Lundy about the debt owed to his kitchen supply firm.

"He said he would use the money that he was expecting from the life insurance policy to settle a debt with Duratech."

Under cross examination, Mr McLachlan agreed the Lundy's ability to pay depended on their clients paying them and he confirmed Christine Lundy had paid $10,000 into his account just prior to her death.

The Lundys' insurance broker says the couple boosted their life insurance cover after he made a recommendation for them to do so.

Bruce Parsons told the court that Mark and Christine Lundy signed a new life insurance policy on August 25, boosting their cover to $500,000 each. Under cross-examination, Mr Parsons confirmed he had suggested a couple of months earlier increasing their cover to a million dollars each after learning of their new vineyard business.

Mr Parsons said the insurance company would only agree to cover them for $500,000 each.