Lancashire

Robert Lund trial: Wife should 'haunt' husband

Robert Lund
Image caption Robert Lund denies the murder of his wife

A Lancashire man accused of killing his wife in France has been told his "nightmares" should haunt him.

The remains of 52-year-old Evelyn Lund were found in Lake Bancalie, in southern France, in 2001.

Herve Renier, representing her family, told the French court that it was impossible Mrs Lund had ended up in the lake as the result of an accident.

Robert Lund, from Darwen, Lancashire, is on trial for a third time for her murder, which he denies.

Mr Lund, a former tree surgeon, was originally convicted by a court in Albi in the Tarn area of France in 2007. He was retried in 2009 and jailed for 12 years for an offence similar to manslaughter.

'Last dispute'

He is appealing against the verdict of his first retrial on a legal point and stands to receive a pay-out from his late wife's life insurance if he is successful.

Addressing the jury, before they began their deliberations, Mr Renier said the evidence showed it was impossible Mrs Lund had ended up in the lake as the result of an accident.

Her body had been found on the back seat of her car and there was blood on her clothes and the seat.

The blood in the back of the vehicle would not have been there had she died in the driver's seat and floated over into the back once the vehicle was underwater, he said.

He told Mr Lund: "I hope that in your prison cell your last dispute with your wife haunts your nightmares."

Mrs Lund, who was originally from Rawtenstall, had gone missing from the couple's home in December 1999.

Earlier Mrs Lund's brother had sobbed as he told the court of the "enormous strain" her death and subsequent trials had put on her family.

'Very shocked'

Giving evidence at the court in the French town of Montauban, Gerald Wilkinson said: "Evelyn's disappearance, not knowing where she was or what had happened, the discovery of the car and the body in the lake, the long investigation and the three trials, has been very distressing and has placed an enormous strain on all the family.

"The third trial brings back all the awful memories again and again.

"In almost 12 years we have not been able to come to terms with this tragedy, we've been unable to grieve properly for Evelyn and we've been unable to get on properly with our lives."

Both his parents had died as a result of the strain placed on them by the long-running judicial proceedings, he said.

Mr Wilkinson said he had spoken to Mr Lund on the phone shortly after his sister's disappearance and "within three minutes (Mr Lund) moved on to the subject of money," he said.

"I was very shocked with this.

"He obviously seemed more concerned with money and bills than the fact he had lost his wife and with going to look for her."

Mrs Lund's daughter, Elizabeth Camden, told the court she had witnessed "lots and lots and lots of abuse" from her stepfather towards her mother.

Mr Lund has said his wife's death was a "tragic accident" and that she had been drinking and must have lost her way while driving home from visiting friends.

He suggests that she had tried to turn around, lost control of the car and ploughed into the lake.

The trial continues.

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