Crown closing address: 'Clear picture' of David Bain as the killer

Perhaps the most significant comment David Bain made to friends after the murders of this family was that he always ended up hurting the ones he loved, Crown counsel Keiran Raftery said as he concluded the Crown's closing arguments at the retrial of David Bain this afternoon.

"That is exactly what he has done in this case."

Mr Raftery spoke of David Bain's discussion with a friend in the days following the murders, in which he confirmed the deaths were the "something horrible" he had a premonition about the week before.

He also raised with the jury the idea that if David Bain had turned on the washing machine when he said he did, when he returned from his paper run, it would still have been going when police officers arrived at the house. But it was not.

In addition, he reminded them that David Bain had told the 111 operator that his family were all dead and then said he had only seen his parents bodies.

"These are small pieces, but when you put them together you have a very clear picture of David Bain as the killer," he said.

David Bain crafted an alibi

Ensuring that at least one person on his paper run saw him doing his round the morning five members of his family were murdered was an essential part of David Bain's plan to frame his father.

David Bain told a police officers interviewing him that a woman on his paper run had seen him delivering the paper as normal that morning.

But in evidence read out at David Bain's retrial that woman, Mrs Mitchell (who has since died), said David Bain's behaviour was unusual the morning of the killings.

He did something he had not done for a year - he went inside the gate of her property. As a result her dog, Boris, had barked.

When he saw her, he turned around and left.

It had been unusual and she had often thought about it since, Mrs Mitchell had said.

"On that morning, of all mornings, he changed his usual actions. And he said specifically to Det Dunne to ask that lady, who would have seen him."

What David Bain was doing on that morning was in effect crating himself an alibi, Mr Raftery said.

"He ensures by that episode at least one person will remember his ruinning the paper run."


Strength needed to overpower Stephen

It would have taken a strong man to overpower Stephen Bain, who would have been fighting with every fibre of his being to save his life - another fact that pointed to David Bain and not Robin Bain being the killer, Mr Raftery said.

Another interesting point was that the light in Laniet's room was off when police arrived, so he must have turned on the light and looked at Laniet and then turned it off again.

"These are small points in an overall matrix."

During his closing address, he continued talking about a lens found in Stephen Bain's room.

The defence's contention that investigating officer Milton Weir had planted a lens from glasses David Bain had been using in Stephen Bains' room was a "scurrilous offering", Mr Raftery said.

The photos on which the defence based the allegation were out of their time sequence making it a "totally injustified allegation against Mr Weir, which was based on a totally false premise".

While a defence witness had said David Bain appeared to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, that was not an indicator of guilt or innocence.

He also said the jury should similarly give little weight to evidence that David Bain was behaving strangely before the murders, because that, too, did not say whether he was a murderer.

The evidence of ambulance officers who attended David Bain the day of the murders was by itself not strong evidence, but "just a bit that starts to gel and fall in palce when it is set in to the backdrop of what happened".

Speaking of the debate over whether David Bain's fingerprints on the murder weapon were in blood, Mr Raftery said the red pigmentation and later tests saying the prints were made in human blood proved that they were.

A defence witness who said the fingerprints were not in blood, and must be in some other bodily fluid, such as sweat, made his assessment from a black and white photograph.

He told the jury not to get bogged down in dicussion on the negatives and positives of the fingerprints because it was too distracting and merely a sidetrack to what was important.

"The eleventh hour attack on these fingerprints is just 15 years too late, because it is what they were like back in 1994 that counts."

Mr Raftery also told the jury: "You need to ask youself: 'has this scenario been staged to look like suicide?"

A magazine from the murder weapon lying on a thin curved edge, near Robin Bain's body, suggested "more that it had been staged rather than it came to land there naturally".

The jury also needed to ask themselves how Robin Bain's body got in to the position it was found in.

If he shot himself the way the defence suggested, it was "quite a long way" from the chair he would have had to have used.



Stephen's killer is the key

The only question the jury had to ask themselves was who killed Stephen Bain, Mr Raftery said.

"Base it on the evidence and the answer to that question is David Bain, and it tells you therefore he was the murderer of all the others. It cannot be any other way."

Whether the killer took off the gloves in Stephen's room because he was losing his grip in the gun, or they came off in the struggle with the 14-year-old, the killer's hand would have been covered in blood.

There were four bloody fingerprints on the gun in a position which could indicate the killer pushing it down on the victim.

"That rifle speaks volumes about what happened in Stephen Bain's bedroom. Look for evidence from that bedroom and see what connects you with Davd Bain. This rifle tells you the killer of Stephen was David."

Even if there was no other evidence than the rifle alone you would be able to answer that question.

"But there is other evidence."

Stephen Bain's blood on on the bottom front, upper back and lower back of the t-shirt David Bain was wearing and a blood stain in the crotch from Stephen Bain were vital pieces of evidence and connected David Bain intimately with his brother's killing, Mr Raftery said before the lunch-break.

His closing will continue at 2.15pm.

Nobody else's blood on Robin

Mr Raftery said the man who killed Stephen Bain must have been seriously bloodied, but Robin Bain had no blood on him at all.

The only blood on Robin Bain was positively identified is his own, which suggested he changed his clothes before killing himself.

"Why on earth? This is a man hellbent on murder and suicide does it matter that your green jersey is covered in bloodstains, you're about to get more blood on yourself anyway?

"Not just is that itself bizarre, what it means is he has had to go back to the caravan to change."

Then after changing everything including his socks, he then had put the clothes in the laundry basket for David to come home and wash to get all the evidence.

"What is going to matter to Robin Bain whether he's got a bloodied jersey on him or not?"

It also made no sense that Robin Bain wore gloves to comit any part of the murders.

"What are the gloves for? You wear them if you don't want fingerprints - if you want to get away with it."

Mr Raftery asked why Robin Bain needed to use gloves if he was going to kill himself and leave a message for David, thereby announcing to the world he was the killer.

"He did not want to get away with it."

The indications that Robin Bain was the killer did not stack up, Mr Raftery said, before moving on to the Crown's argument that David Bain as the killer.

Bloodied pillow or cloth never found

David Bain's gun was the murder weapon. He had left a key for the gun's trigger-lock somewhere else and admitted he was the only person in his family who knew were the second trigger lock for his gun was hidden, the jury has been told.

If nothing else than just the use of the gloves, there was an indication that David Bain may be the killer and not Robin Bain, Mr Raftery said.

"It is the first point that clearly and unequivocally points to David Bain."

The order of the killings would never be known, but he surmised that Laniet Bain was shot first because her door was closest to David Bain's own room.

He wondered where the item that was placed between Laniet and the gun went. It was never found by police in 10 days of combing the crime scenes.

"No such garment, cloth or pillow was ever found. What has happened to it? Who has got rid of it? Has Robin had the opportunity to get rid of it?

"Not at all. He has gone to commit suicide. It's nowhere in the house, but David had an opportunity to get rid of it in the sense that he left the house and was out for about an hour running around Andersons Bay."

'Untrue' that David came home to find Laniet gurgling

The idea that David Bain came home from his paper run and heard his sister gurgling is "totally untenable and untrue", the Crown says.

"When David Bain heard the gurgling he does nothing to help his sister who is giving, in layman's terms, signs of life."

If you were genuinely just home from the paper run and heard signs of life in your apparently shot sister, you would "move heaven and earth" to get someone there as fast as you could to help, Mr Raftery said.

"But, no, he waits 15 or 20 minutes before he telephones 111."

"The idea he has come home and heard her gurgling was totally untenable and totally untrue, so he must have heard it during the commission of the crimes," Mr Raftery said.

Robin's radio left on

After the morning break he continued picking apart the defence's argument that Robin Bain killed four members of his family and then himself.

It would never be known if Robin Bain's alarm had gone off that day at the usual time of 6.30am, but it was set for 6.30am and his radio was later found on.

"That the radio in the caravan was still on, tells you Robin Bain put the radio on when he got up, a remarkably pedestrian thing to do for someone about to get up and kill four people."

Why was the alarm not set for an earlier time if Robin Bain knew David Bain would be back from his paper run about 6.45am, he asked.

"Fifteen minutes does not give you much time to commit four murders and a suicide."

Question is not why, but who

Mr Raftery told the jury there is not the slightlest shred of evidence linking Robin Bain to any single murder scene in the case of the Bain family murders, as he began his closing address at the retrial of David Bain this morning.

Mr Raftery started out by discussing the defence's case, rather than the prosecution's, as put over the past three and half months.

The question of who did the crimes remained the same as it did 14 years ago, but the "question for you is not why, but who and what."

It was not for a criminal trial to fathom the why, but prove who did the crime, he said.

"They (the defence) say to you Robin Bain had a motive, he was depressed and going down hill, he was incestuous. And that they say explains what happened. If the crown was seeking to prosecute Robin Bain for the murders the crown would not get off first base, because you need evidence to prove it."

Laniet 'fanciful'

Mr Raftery dealt with what Laniet Bain said first.

Her evidence was fanciful, muddled and unreliable, Mr Raftery said.

She exaggerated things and told obvious lies, including what amounted to her saying she had three pregnancies and an abortion before she was 12-and-a-half years old.

It was also odd that she mentioned the incest to two dairy owners, but not her GP.

"You get this very strange thing where she will tell a dairy owner or a prostitute, but she won't share with someone who could be more helpful.

"You could not rely on that in way, shape or form, to prove that Robin Bain was guilty of incest in any way."

Crown questions Dean Cottle's reliability

After questioning the reliability of Dean Cottle, he asked the jury to consider whether there ever was a family meeting on the Sunday night, at which Laniet Bain was suggested to have been intending to reveal the incest.

"The source of your information for that was from Dean Cottle, the man who probably started this all those many years ago.

"You might have expected if such a meeting had occurred to hear something from David Bain when he gave evidence at his first trial. He never mentioned there was one."

In fact, there was absolutely no evidence Laniet said anything to anybody that weekend, Mr Raftery said.

"Quite what was happening that weekend in terms of Laniet revealing anything is far from clear, apart from the suggestion that something was going to happpen."


Computer message odd

There was something odd, that did not quite gel about the message left on the computer at the Bain household.

"Why was David Bain the only one who deserved to stay?"

Why did Robin Bain single out David to live when all the rest of the family died, Mr Raftery asked the jury.

"If this was the dark family secret and he wants this secret to go with him and his family to the grave, why leave one alive who could reveal the secret?"

The message itself - "Sorry you are the only one who deserved to stay" - did not strike one something said by a dying man to those who came after, to address why he had done it.

"The note reads more like David Bain talking about himself. David Bain no doubt thought he was the one who deserved to stay."

It may not be a major point, but it was an odd feature that did not quite gel as a suicide note, Mr Raftery said.

"In effect this message is a get out of jail card for David, it is not the speakings of the mind of a man who is taking his own life.

If Robin 'hellbent' on suicide, 44 seconds a long time to wait

What time the computer was turned on in the Bain household to leave the message "Sorry you were the only one who deserved to stay" was unknown, beyond that it must have been switched on over a six minute period between 6.40am and 6.46am on the morning of the murders.

The point that mattered was that it took 44 seconds for the computer to turn on. The question was what man hellbent on suicide would wait 44 seconds before shooting himself, Mr Raftery told the jury.

"Forget the mathematics of it and think for a moment."

He then timed 44 seconds on his wristwatch.

"That is how long he would have had to wait. If he commited four murders and is hell-bent on suicide and he knows any moment his son is going to walk through the door and stop him . . . yet he has to wait before he can switch on the computer? For a man hellbent on comitting suicide every second counts.

"The crown has always said suicide was possible, but how likely is it?"

The closing address is expected to go until early afternoon.

 

The closing finished at 3.30pm. The case will recommence tomorrow at 10am, when Michael Reed, for the defence will commence his closing arguments.

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