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Did David Bain Murder His Entire Family?
Retrial opens the door to an OJ Simpson-type scenario in New Zealand
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2009-05-11 13:56 (KST)   
If you're not from New Zealand you're excused for not knowing about the most sensational murder trial in that country's history. The can of worms has been reopened 13 years after the fateful morning on June 20, when David Bain's three siblings were found murdered in their beds, and both his parents shot from near-point blank range.

David Bain was 22 years-old on the day the Bain family were wiped out at 65 Every Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin. All five were shot early that morning, between 5am and 7am. David's father Robin (58) was shot last, with the police saying they'd checked his body several times for a pulse since "the body was still warm."

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Robin, suffering from depression, was living outside the family home and was found dead in the lounge - a place that he was in the habit of visiting each morning at 7am to pray. Behind his body, on a computer, were the words: "SORRY, YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO DESERVED TO STAY."

Robin's wife Margaret (50), and daughters Arawa (19), Laniet (18) and son Stephen (14) were also found dead in the house. From the blood in Stephen's room, it was clear that Stephen had put up a fight against his attacker. He had suffered an upper cranial wound, and had been strangled with a T-shirt before being shot point blank.

Laniet had taken three shots to her head, the first through the cheek, the second through the top of her head, and the third into her brain. From a smear on her pillow it appeared that she had survived the initial shot and struggled briefly before suffering the final shots to her head. So what really happened that sleepy morning in Every Street?

111 Call

At 7:09 a.m., apparently out of breath and very distressed, David Bain called the emergency number. He had left the house at around 5:45am on a newspaper run with a yellow bag as usual. He returned at around 6:42-43 a.m., possibly as late as 6:45 a.m. to find his family dead.

Four days later Bain was charged by police with the murder of his parents and siblings. One month later, the Bain family home was burnt to the ground, on July 5, 1994. David Bain was sentenced to life, but 12 years later, was released on bail pending the results of a retrial. The retrial is currently underway at the High Court in Christchurch.

David's Defence

David Bain acknowledges that only two people were capable of the murders (at least three of the deceased were murdered whilst in their beds), and both resided at 65 Every Street. David acknowledges that the murderer could only have been him, or his father.

According to David's defence, Robin was depressed, and having an incestuous relationship with his daughter Laniet. The motive is thus that he - Robin - had killed her ostensibly to prevent her from 'outing him' as was suggested she was about to do.

Furthermore the computer was proposed to have been turned on as early as 6:39 a.m. David was spotted by a passerby in a car entering the gate of his home at 6:45 a.m.

Bloody fingerprints on the hunting rifle were found to be David's prints, but some of the blood was thought to be possum and rabbit blood, not human blood.

Laniet's gurgling noise - which David said he heard before she died - was criticised by the courts Privy Council as a matter beyond their role. Based on these counter-arguments and others, the case is being re-heard.

The Crown's Case

David got up at 5 a.m. on June 20, dressed, and assembled his hunting rifle. He would require a magazine with live rounds and a special key to unlock the weapon. There were two keys, one of which was in a raincoat he'd left in his father's caravan. David had the other key, in a jar on his desk, and this was the key that was used.

David shot everyone except his father, who was out in the caravan and was expected to enter the house - as he usually did - to pray in the lounge at around 7 a.m. David fought with Stephen, losing a lens from his glasses in the violent struggle and getting himself covered in blood in the process. Stephen's blood and DNA was later found on David's white T-shirt, black shorts and socks.

After placing his clothes in the washer and starting it, David washed himself and changed, leaving marks behind as he did so. He left at 5:45 a.m. for the newspaper run. He had to be quicker than usual that morning in order to arrive home slightly earlier, at around 6:42 a.m. Immediately after David arrived home he went upstairs, turned on the computer and typed the message: (or soon thereafter): "SORRY, YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO DESERVED TO STAY".

David then waited for his father. While his father was knelt down, between a coffee table and a bean bag, David shot his father once in the head from very close range. The scene was rearranged to make it appear that his father had taken his own life, his father turned to face upward rather than in a kneeling position and the rifle placed beside his father on the floor). David then made the 111 call, acting distressed.

Other Points

If Robin's motive truly was to kill Laniet to cover up an alleged incestual relationship, and Robin had killed everyone else in the process, why allow David to live? What was special about David and why take the risk of David uncovering his secret.

Photographs of Robin Bain shows a feathery trail of blood moving from right to left) over his head (facing upwards) which clearly shows the body to have been moved. Beside Robin Bain's head is a splodge of blood on the carpet which indicates the original position of the head when the bullet was fired at near point blank range.

Experts point to the fact that suicides with a rifle are awkward, and exceptional. The trajectory of the bullet does not indicate a conventional angle but a near right-angle for the weapon, which would indicate either a killer or a very awkward movement of the arms to procure this angle.

Only David's prints were found on the hunting rifle, not Robin's. During an interview on June 24, 1994, David was asked why his prints appeared on the weapon. He replied, "I don't know. I didn't touch the firearm to my knowledge, I didn't have blood on my hands because I had washed them."

If Robin had committed suicide, his prints would have been on the weapon. Why was David's key used to unlock the weapon?

Only blood from Robin Bain have been found on Robin Bain's clothing. The blood was said to have come from a 'downward spray'. No blood was found on Robin's socks or slippers, indicating the mysterious bloodied sock is irrelevant to Robin.

A green towel in the bathroom was covered in blood, some of which was thought to be diluted with water.

David Bain at first denied he had entered any of the rooms besides those of his parents. One day after depositions were taken proving that David had in fact entered each and every room where a dead family member had been found, David admitted - providing some detail - that he (with a doctor's help) had been able to remember touching his brother on the shoulder to see if he was still alive.

David said he had heard Laniet 'gurgling'. It is impossible that anyone else other than her killer heard this sound.

It has also been suggested that David's motive was that he had had an incestuous relationship with his sister (who was working as a prostitute). The speculation that this was Robin's motive is equally irrelevant.

Abrasions were also found on David's body consistent with a struggle with Stephen.

David Bain will not be testifying at all in his own defence, which raises additional questions about the veracity of his case. David has contradicted himself before, both on the issue of where he entered the rooms of his siblings on June 20, and on a missing lens from glasses (he has myopia) found in Stephen's room.

If David Bain returned from his round at 6:45 a.m., why did he wait nearly 20 minutes to call the police (at 7:09 a.m.)? Bain could also not explain at the time why his bloodstained palm print appeared on the washing machine, and why it appeared as though bloodstained washing had been loaded into the machine.

While the case against David Bain in circumstantial, the evidence is solid. However, as in the OJ Simpson case, the police are being picked at one by one, and evidence (a bloody sock) exhaustively combed in order to overwhelm the jurors with possible uncertainties.

The Dunedin police force, however, are accused of tampering with evidence.

After 40 days the Crown closed its case with 130 witnesses having given substantiating evidence.

The case continues.

For more visit www.nickvanderleek.com

©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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