4 May 2009

Black hands took Bain family away, trial told

9:59 pm on 4 May 2009

Murder-accused David Bain told his aunt and uncle of seeing black hands taking his family away, a jury was told on Monday.

The Crown says David Bain, 37, killed his parents Robin and Margaret and siblings Arawa, Laniet and Stephen at the family's house in Dunedin on 20 June 1994.

The defence says Robin Bain killed the family present in the house before shooting himself.

Following the deaths of his family, David Bain stayed with relatives Bob and Jan Clark in Dunedin.

The couple gave evidence in the High Court in Christchurch on Monday.

Mrs Clark opened her home to David Bain the day of the killings, telling her nephew he would be cared for and supported as he coped with the devastating loss.

Mrs Clark told the court she was very close to her sister, Margaret Bain, and became upset as she told the court about the conversation she had with David Bain two days after the killings, during which he spoke of black hands coming to get the family and everyone dying.

The court was told David Bain's voice and demeanour changed and Mrs Clark said his fists were clenched as he spoke.

Mrs Clark said she then asked him if he had seen his family dying, at which point Mr Bain returned to normal and looked her in the eye before saying he had not.

Defence lawyer Michael Reed, QC, asked Mrs Clark if it was fair to say that different people reacted differently to death, grief and shock in all sorts of ways.

Mrs Clark said she accepted that.

The defence also asked Mrs Clark about a conversation Margaret Bain is said to have had with another witness a few weeks before the deaths.

In the conversation, the defence contends Margaret Bain told a friend she thought her husband Robin Bain might get a gun and kill the whole family due to his depression.

Mrs Clark told Mr Reed that nothing like this had ever been said to her and the subject of depression had never been mentioned.

Bain 'relaxed' on day of arrest

Bob Clark told the court that David Bain became upset while reading a newspaper report about the deaths.

After that, the court heard, Mr Bain spoke to his uncle about seeing black hands coming for his family, going into a trance as he did so.

Four days after the killings, police asked Mr Clark to take David Bain to the central police station.

Mr Clark told the court his nephew was very relaxed on the journey and said he wanted to get the situation sorted out so he could get on and live his life.

David Bain was then arrested and charged with murder.