Binnie Report – The Defence Theory

104. The Bain submission is that what appear to be a series of inexplicable killings are explained by the fact – unknown at the time to David – of a sexual relationship between his father and his younger sister Laniet. After working for a time as a prostitute, Laniet had decided to go home on the weekend of June 18-19 to disclose to the family her prostitution and the incest. Her intention was to make a clean break with the past and start afresh. This evidence of incest (strongly disputed by the prosecution) forms the essential background to the murders, the Bain Submission says, and provides “the trigger” referred to by the prosecutor in his closing jury address in 2009. Robin, it is clear, was more experienced in the use of firearms than David Bain.

105. David Bain says he knew nothing at the time of incest or Laniet’s plan. He has a clear recollection of the week-end, he says, up until the moment he discovered his dead mother on Monday morning. Thereafter his memory was largely obliterated by shock, then recovered partially under therapy while in prison, but is still patchy.

106. David Bain’s recollection is that he got up at his usual time of 5.30 am, put on his Laser running shoes, shorts, and a red sweatshirt, grabbed his yellow Otago Daily Times bag and set off on his newspaper round with his dog Casey at about 5.45 am. He ran much of the route, as was his custom (his sporting activities included distance running). He checked his watch at the foot of Every Street towards the end of his run. It showed 6.40 am (although the Police never checked his watch’s accuracy.) He then walked up the hill to his home, which he estimated to the Police would have taken two to three minutes but which he now says would have taken longer.

107. David Bain told the Police at the initial interview after the murders that when he got home Robin had already collected the newspaper. This meant Robin was already inside the house.

108. On entering the house he noticed that his mother’s light was on but turned left into his own room, which was dark and cold on a typical Dunedin winter morning. He did not switch on the light in his own room even though sunrise would not occur for a least another hour. The door to the lounge (where Robin’s body was later found) was closed.

109. David Bain says he put his newspaper bag in its place and, without noticing anything amiss in the dark, took off his shoes and Walkman and descended the stairs to the lower level to the washing machine area. In this part of the lower level the lighting is very poor (at a later point a Police officer entering the laundry area looked about to turn on the light only to find it was already on.) There David scrubbed his hands to clean off the ink stains from the newsprint.

110. One of David’s regular chores was to deal with the family laundry. Accordingly, after scrubbing his hands41 he proceeded, as was his usual morning routine, to organise the wash by sorting out the coloured clothes and jerseys (including his red sweatshirt just worn on the paper route) from the light coloured clothing, he put a load into the machine, that included the “green” rough knit jersey, a black skivvy… a couple of pairs of socks…”. He couldn’t remember whose socks they were but it seems to me they could have included the socks that made the than bloodied footprints. He then started the machine on a “full cycle”. He did not notice any blood stains on the clothing he put into the wash.

111. David Bain then returned upstairs to his room, put on the light for the first time and saw cartridges and the trigger lock on the floor. He went immediately to his mother’s room, and found her dead. He went into the adjoining bedroom where Stephen slept, touched him to determine if he was dead, crossed the hall into the room Laniet was sleeping in, and found her dead as well. He went downstairs and checked Arawa’s bedroom for signs of life. There were none. He went back upstairs and entered the lounge where he found his father’s body lying lifeless on the floor. Although when first talking to the Police, he had been at a loss to recall this entire sequence of events (he recalled seeing only the bodies of his mother and father), his memory later recovered in part while undergoing therapy to deal with what was diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder. It was after therapy that he recalled touching Stephen’s lifeless body. In Laniet’s room he heard her body make a gurgling noise. He does not recall how long this search around the house continued. He recalls only the sequence. Reduced to a state of shock and acute distress by the destruction of his entire family he called the emergency services.

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