Bain 'zoned out', friend tells court

A witness, who has permanent name suppression, gives evidence yesterday.
A witness, who has permanent name suppression, gives evidence yesterday.
Two female friends of David Bain yesterday described how they heard him wailing in anguish during a walk along St Clair Beach two days after five of his family were shot dead.

The two women were the only witnesses called on the 33rd day of Bain's retrial in the High Court at Christchurch for the murders of his parents and siblings on June 20, 1994.

Their evidence related to events in the days after the killings as well as to their friendship with Bain during the preceding months.

At the time of the beach walk on the night of June 22, Bain was staying with his aunt and uncle at St Clair.

Both women told the court that Bain had talked to them about his experiences of "deja vu" and "zoning out" and of his premonition that "something horrible" was going to happen.

And one of the women, H, who had been going out with Bain for a couple of months, said he told her the night before the walk that he could not account for a period of time on the morning of the shootings.

He said he was home for 25 minutes before he called the police and could remember only five minutes of that time.

He wondered if it might have been something like what had happened to him at a concert on June 11 when he "zoned out", the witness said.

She earlier told the court about the incident which happened at a Sinfonia concert nine days before Bain's parents and siblings were shot.

During the second part of the performance, which included the world premiere of an Anthony Ritchie symphony, Bain had become "very quiet and still" and seemed unaware of what was happening around him.

When people were applauding at the end of the piece, he "just sat there" and she had to elbow him, H said.

"I told him I didn't know what had happened but he didn't say anything," she told Justice Graham Panckhurst and the jury.

Both H and R were granted permanent name suppression by Justice Panckhurst and, at her request, H was not filmed, photographed or recorded giving her evidence.

R was filmed but her identity was disguised.

Bain, now 37, denies charges of murdering his parents Robin and Margaret, sisters Arawa and Laniet and younger brother Stephen.

He says he returned from his paper round, put on the washing then discovered all his family were dead.

The Crown, represented by Kieran Raftery, Cameron Mander and Robin Bates says Bain killed his mother and siblings then ran the paper round earlier and faster, returned home, waited for his father to come into the house and shot him from behind the curtains of the computer alcove in the front room.

And the Crown says Bain wrote the message "Sorry, you are the only one who deserved to stay" in the family computer and placed the Winchester .22 rifle on the floor beside Robin to make it appear he had committed suicide.

But defence counsel Michael Reed QC, Helen Cull QC, Paul Morten, and Matthew Karam, contend Robin Bain, not David Bain, shot the other four family members before turning the gun on himself after leaving the message on the computer.

During the evidence about her growing friendship with Bain, H told the court how she met him early in 1994 when he was a singer and she was a musician in a production of The Tempest.

They continued to meet through their music and were involved in a performance of The Gondoliers in May.

They would have coffee together and with other friends.

She also met Bain's sister Arawa who was working at the Museum Cafe.

She thought the two had a good relationship.

Bain told her he lived in an old house in Andersons Bay which they were planning to pull down and rebuild.

He talked about the new house having two large upstairs bedrooms separated by a bathroom and said one room was for him, H said.

But when she asked if the other was for his parents he said, "Dad's got nothing to do with it".

H recalled going to the house with him and her friend R who was also a close friend of Bain's after they had been out for a meal with friends.

Bain told her he did not feel comfortable at the meal as a woman had been flirting with him and he asked her to "rescue" him if such a situation happened again.

On that occasion H said she noticed a book on massage in his room.

She asked if he did massage and he pointed to a massage table folded against the wall, telling her both he and his mother did massage.

When she pointed out the people pictured in the massage book were naked and asked if they "did it naked", Bain asked what was wrong with being naked.

During a party for The Gondoliers, she told Bain she liked him and she invited him to go to the theatre with her. They also went to the film Schindler's List together.

Bain had cried and said he did not like it very much.

He invited her to a Victorian themed ball at Larnach Castle on June 5.

They had hired costumes, Bain arranged for Arawa to do her hair and his mother loaned her a pair of long silk gloves.

They went to the Every St house where she met Bain's parents and Stephen, and they had photographs taken.

On the way to the ball, Bain told her it was "quite a significant evening" for him as he had not gone to his sixth form school formal.

They stopped at a lookout and stared at the stars on the way home and when they returned to Every St, Bain gave her a red rose and a card with a poem he had written saying he had given her his heart.

At a subsequent meeting they talked about the family relationships. She asked Bain why he had not left home and he said he was not quite ready.

He said his father stayed at Taieri School during the week, that his mother did not love his father any more and did not want him in the house.

And he said Laniet had become "a rebel" and had left home because of their father, but he did not explain.

Some time the following week, Bain called her and said he had broken his glasses when he had fallen in his music teacher's garden.

He said he had an old pair, but he did not wear them.

H said she and R arranged to meet Bain at the Polar Plunge on Sunday, June 19, but they went to St Clair beach instead of St Kilda and Bain and Stephen had finished their swim when they found them.

She also saw Robin and Stephen. Apart from Bain, she never saw any of the family again.

After the shootings, she had contacted the police to confirm she was a special friend of Bain's and he had called her on the Tuesday afternoon.

She visited him at his aunt and uncle's and he had been very upset. She recalled him being very upset and angry that Arawa and Stephen had not died in their beds as he had understood.

He had learned that from the newspaper. When she asked him if he had seen his father as well as his mother, he said he had but that he had not seen the children.

And he told her, "If it's my father, I can never forgive him."

He then said "and if it's me" and she interrupted him, saying he could "never do that" but he told her it was his gun.

"I was terrified he'd be accused and asked if he had blood on him and he said `No'," H said.

Bain showed her an injury to his head which he could not account for.

H then talked about the walk with Bain and R on the beach when he had collapsed, holding his stomach before walking away with his dog and spending several minutes yelling and crying.

Back at his aunt's place, they discussed arrangements for the funerals and Bain told her he wanted her to stand next to him at the funeral, that he needed her to be strong because she had been upset the previous evening.

Bain also told her he wanted to have a party for Arawa's birthday the following Sunday when she would have turned 20.

He showed her a tattoo of a criss-crossed braid, feathers and roses around his arm.

He said he got it done the previous year after a pet died.

The other witness, R, a close friend, told the court about conversations Bain had with her, in particular one on June 14 when he said he had "felt a bit of an idiot" he had not been aware H had had a boyfriend.

He felt he did not have many real friends and that he had two faces - the public "smiley jokey" one and the private more serious face.

And Bain told her he did not know if it was worth putting the time into the relationship with H, that he had been badly hurt before, and betrayed by his best friend in New Guinea.

He was "wary" about the relationship, R said.

Bain told her his mother was the only person he could talk to but that was hard, too, because he found it difficult to express himself and his mother talked too much.

They talked for about an hour and Bain said he was going to tell her something he had not told anyone.

He asked if she knew what "deja vu" was and gave her an example of an incident when he said he knew exactly what was going to happen before it happened.

He also mentioned the orchestra concern in which she had been playing the previous Saturday when he had the "zoning out" experience.

R said that when they had been talking the previous night and he started to tell her he felt "something horrible" was going to happen, she did not know if it was to do with H.

But after the shootings, when the three of them were walking on the beach, she asked him if that was "the something horrible" he had been talking about.

He did not answer but fell to his knees, clutching his stomach and making a horrible noise.

Then he said he wanted to walk by himself and went off with the dog.

He "had a good old yell, shouted and screamed" for about 15 or 20 minutes.

Back at the house, he asked if she thought he should tell Greg Dunne, the police officer looking after him, about the premonitions and the "deja vu".

He told her about the 20 minutes he could not account for.

The witness said she did not know what to say and told him it was his decision.

When she asked him if it was his father, Bain said if it was "going to be him, he was going to be really really angry with him".

He clenched his fists while saying that and he also said he did not know what he could say to the police to "make them believe I didn't do it".

He showed her some grazes on his chest and shoulder but said he could not remember how he got them.

Under cross-examination by Mr Reed, H and R both agreed they found Bain pleasant and personable, "a nice guy" and they all had the common interest of music.

H said Bain had a very good voice, loved singing and wanted to make his career in singing.

She agreed that the night she, Bain and R were walking on St Clair beach, the crying she heard from him was "a terrible sound", "like from the stomach, a real sound of pain".

She agreed he was traumatised.

R told Mr Reed she liked Bain and agreed there was quite a bit of trust between them.

Asked about Bain saying he felt vulnerable, she agreed young people could feel like that about relationships, worrying about whether they might be "dumped".

She had asked Bain what he wanted from H and he had been "quite clear" he did not want a sexual relationship because of his earlier girlfriend but she thought he was not entirely clear what he wanted.

 

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter