The Curious Case of David Bain - 5 murders, or an innocent man? 40 replies

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masked_marsoe VIP Member

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16th April 2005

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#1 11 years ago

The David Bain case is one of the strangest and longest running murder cases in New Zealand.

5 gruesome murders, a family wiped out, the only son charged with the murder of his mother, father, brother and two sisters.

And a twist that CSI couldn't hope to match...

The background:

Spoiler: Show

On the morning of 20 June 1994, five members of the Bain family were shot dead. The dead were Robin Bain (58), his wife Margaret (50), their daughters Arawa (19), Laniet (18) and son Stephen (14). David called 111 at 7:09 am, seeming very distressed. He had completed his paper round; what else happened that morning has been disputed.

Four days after the murders, David Bain (then aged 22) was charged by the Police with the murder of his family.

The original case against:

Spoiler: Show

In the original trial, the prosecution's portrayal of events was, in brief, as follows. David got up by 5 am on the morning of 20 June. After getting dressed, he took his rifle and some ammunition from the wardrobe and unlocked the trigger lock using the spare key. The spare key, which he kept in a jar on his desk, was used because he had left the usual key in the pocket of a raincoat in his father's caravan. David then shot all his family members except his father, who was out in the caravan. He fought violently with Stephen, losing a lens from his glasses in the struggle. There was much blood. He put his blood-stained clothes in the washing machine, started it, washed himself and changed into clean clothes, leaving marks in the laundry/bathroom in the process.

He went on his paper run as usual at roughly 5:45 am, hurrying to arrive home slightly earlier than usual at about 6:42 am. David then went upstairs, switching on the computer at 6:44 am, where he typed in a message (then or later): "SORRY, YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO DESERVED TO STAY".

He waited for his father to come in from the caravan to pray, as was his habit around 7 am. When Robin knelt to pray in the lounge, David shot him in the head from very close range. He rearranged the scene to seem like a suicide, then called 111 to report the killings, pretending to be very agitated.

The original defence:

Spoiler: Show

He got up at the usual time, put on his running shoes and the yellow newspaper bag, and went on his paper run with the dog. He arrived back about 6:42 - 6:43 am, entering by the front door, and went to his room. He took off the newspaper bag and his shoes there, then went downstairs to the bathroom where he washed his hands, black from the newsprint.

He put some colored clothes in the machine, including the sweatshirt worn on his paper run over the last week, and set it going. He went back upstairs to his room, turning on the light. He then noticed bullets and the trigger lock on the floor. He went to his mother's room, finding her dead, then visited the other rooms where he heard Laniet gurgling, and found his father dead in the lounge. He was devastated and rang the emergency number in great distress.

David's defence proposed that Robin killed all the other family members, before switching on the computer, typing the message,

The evidence the original jury did not know:

Spoiler: Show

1. Robin Bain's mental state The jury did not know that he was "quite seriously disturbed", had reportedly hit a student at the school where he was principal, and had published brutal and sadistic children's stories in the school's newsletter, one of which involved the serial murder of members of a family.

2. Motive Laniet had apparently told a friend just before the killings that she was planning to confront her parents that weekend about an incestuous relationship between her and her father Robin, but the trial judge had ruled the friend's evidence inadmissable because he saw it as unreliable. The jury therefore never heard about this possible motive for Robin.(The exclusion of this evidence was the principal question in the first appeal.) Since then, two other people had come forward stating that Laniet had told them about the incest, and another two had given supporting statements.

3. Size of bloody sock prints Prints from a right sock impregnated with blood were detected using luminol in Margaret's room, going in and out of Laniet's room, and in the hallway outside Margaret's room. They all seemed to be from the same foot, measured at 280 mm in length. These were in places where Robin would not have gone under the Crown's theory of events. It was accepted during the trial that the prints were David's, and the prosecutor summed up saying they were too big to be Robin's. The jury were not told Robin's feet were measured to be 270 mm in length. Later measurements showed David's feet to be 300 mm in length. According to the Privy Council report, the new evidence "throws real doubt" on the assumption during the trial that the prints could not have been Robin's.

4. Time the computer was switched on The jury was told and later reminded by the judge that the computer was turned on at precisely 8:44 am, just after David had returned home. However the exact time was not really this precise, and during the Privy Council appeal both sides agreed that the computer could have been turned on as early as 6:39:49 am.

5. Time David returned home Someone was seen by a passing motorist entering the gate at 65 Every St at 6:45 am. The reliability of this time was left more doubtful than necessary in the minds of the jury, because they were not told that the police had checked the car's clock. Nor were they (or the defence) told of a second statement made by the motorist, in which she mentioned that she saw the yellow paper bag over his left shoulder.

6. Ownership of glasses The jury heard a statement from an optometrist that glasses found in David's room were David's, conflicting with David's testimony that they were his mother's. David was then cross-examined about this in a way that raised doubt over his credibility. The optometrist had in fact changed his mind shortly before testifying, and believed his statement had been changed to say they were David's, but this had not happened. The jury asked a question about this issue after retiring, and were reminded of the conflicting testimony by the judge. The Privy Council concluded that while the ownership of the glasses was not a vital matter in itself, the conflict may have detracted from David's credibility in the eyes of the jury.

7. Left-hand lens The left-hand lens of these glasses was found in Stephen's room. During the trial, Detective Weir testified that it was found there in the open. This was more consistent with the Crown's case that it become dislodged during the struggle there that what is now accepted, that it was found under a skate boot under a jacket, and was covered in dust. This may have misled the jury.

8. David's bloody fingerprints on rifle David's fingerprints were found on the rifle, impressed there by bloody fingers. During the trial it was assumed that this was human blood. (Other blood on the rifle was definitely human.) A test of the fingerprint blood afterwards did not test positive for human DNA, and the prints may have resulted from possum or rabbit shooting months beforehand.

9. Laniet's gurgling noise The jury was told that only the murderer could have heard Laniet gurgling. The second Court of Appeal heard some contradictory evidence and concluded it was not so clear-cut. The third Court of Appeal decided that it was, but was criticised by the Privy Council for having stepped outside its reviewing role here.

This week, the Privy Council granted David Bain a retrial, on the grounds of the nine pieces of evidence (above), and that the Court of Appeal had overstepped its mandate on previous occasions.Personally, I think that he is innocent. The mental instability of his father, including his father's incest with Laniet, the sockprints, and the message on the computer (who would write to themselves in the second person?) seem to be the main pointers towards his innocence.

What do you think?




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#2 11 years ago

This one is difficult, but in case of such tragedies it is often the father who goes nuts and starts shooting everyone.

But shouldn't it be possible to determine wether the father really shot himself or was shot at close range? You sometimes hear about the police being able to find out about such things these days.




masked_marsoe VIP Member

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#3 11 years ago

I'll try to find out where the father was shot, as that will help.

Edit: All it says, without finding the original court documents, was that the shot was very close range to the head. Originally it was said that the shot was inconsistent with suicide, but that doesn't seem true any more.

Of course, the defence alleges that it was suicide, and the prosecution alleges that David adjusted Robin's body to make it look like suicide.




emonkies

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#4 11 years ago

In the US it seems to be a tradition to base a Detectives performance on the number of cases and the number solved. This effects career advancement and promotions and raises.

This has unfortunately created a situation where some Detectives have resorted to tampering with evidence, witholding evidence to strenghten their cases.

I have also seen too many cases of Detectives resorting to Occams Razor

All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one

Many Police Departments are also overworked and the Detectives are usually pressured to wrap things up and move on ASAP.

Police and a good forensics expert should have been able to tell if the body was moved by the son.

Im glad he is getting a retrial. Based on the unreleased evidence it does appear he is innocent.




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#5 11 years ago

That seems some excellent evidence. Well, at least there aren't any family members of the deceased who would want him imprisoned as a form of revenge...:cort:




Hellknight1993

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#6 11 years ago

Hi Mask, cheers for posting news thats hot in our turf atm. Yeah this is making world wide news too. On David, I reckon he didnt do it, seems he was set up and police totally cocked the investergations. Good luck to him!




Hellknight1993

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#7 11 years ago

Verdict just released. [COLOR=black]He got bail!!![/COLOR] Justice, well done dude! :giggle: Bain freed on bail - Yahoo!Xtra News




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#8 9 years ago

Yea, this is one crazy case alright! my reasons for him being innocent(david)

  • he was not home in time to turn the computer on (6:44) he was seen at the corner at least a 3 minute jog home @ (6:45) even with some time difference on the computer/detective/witness' car clock he couldnt run home and switch the computer on in enough time.
  • he had no motive. he followed his daily rituals exactly as he always did that morning. and his father knew he would.
  • the night before, everyone was @ the family home for the first time in months. there was a family meeting in the evening where laniet (incestuous daughter) was going to spill the beans about her father's abuse. late in the evening the mother drove into dunedin city to withdraw $900 from the cash machine. something she never did and this sum was also the majority of the $1250 Robin made fortnightly from his principal's job. why did she take this money out unless it was to be ready for an escape or to help her daughter leave dunedin and the grips of her abusive father.
  • david was the ONLY CHILD and family member NOT HOME at the time of that meeting. he was at a singing practice that evening.
  • the prosucution claimed david sustained injurys from fighting with his younger brother before shooting him. david was seen by two witnesses the night before slip over on the steep icy driveway that evening after the singing lesson. his injuries were consistent with a slip and a small fall, NOT with fighting a 16 year old athletic school boy.
  • david was assessed by one of the countrys leading pyscologists, (a close family friend of mine personally) he stated for the defence and prosucution respectively that david was suffering post traumatic stress syndome adfter the murders and that if david had been lying about being the murderer he himself could have been able to tell. considering the psycologist has worked with some of the most abhorent and scheming crimminals both in the UK, Australia and NZ, i tend to think a 23 year old boy with no prior crimminal or psycological history would be able to fool him over his own innocence.
  • the crown says david shot his father from behind a curtain as robin was praying. the bullet trajectory goes at an upward angle at close range. david would have needed to get the 22. rifle under robins face while he knelt to pray in order to get the shot. was he meant to have crawled along the floor like a sniper and shoot up under his fathers face?? immpossible.
  • the rifle had misfired and been reloaded. how could david have done that behind the THIN curtain- CMs away from robin, without robin hearing anything? the shot or the reload or the spent cartridge being ejected from the barrel!?!?!?
  • there was no blood splatter on robins feet that was consistent with him being in a kneeling position at the time he was shot.
  • the proscution stated it was IMPOSSIBLE for robin to shoot himself. The defence showed 6 different ways it was possible, with a man who had a shorter arm span than robin. case closed.

i could go on and on. this was a case where the weird, geeky, awkward 22 year old was much easier to focus on than having to investigate a (at that time) well respected school principal. so they did. tunnel vision. NZ has since abolished the option of the Privy council (UK) hearing cases before the court on the grounds of mistrial or unfair rulings. If this happened today then david would have never had his second trial and his own justice. i dont know david, i was 10 when this happened but i have read much about it from all sides, and it was his retrial that i based my descision and personal opinion on. im glad the jury came to the same descision as me:)




AegenemmnoN VIP Member

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#9 9 years ago

2 years old...Really sweet.




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#10 9 years ago

yeah, cos he was found innocent (last friday) at his retrial which was a history making case in NZ. retrial took 3 months, and it was decided there would be one after he was released on bail,