David Bain said he hated his father, court told

By Jarrod Booker

David Bain said he hated his father, a court has heard.

Valerie Boyd, David's aunty, told the High Court today that she had a conversation with David in the days following the death of five members of his family on June 20, 1994.

Bain, 37, is on trial for the murder of his parents and three siblings in their Dunedin home on June 20, 1994. His defence team say his father Robin, 58, shot dead the rest of the family before turning the .22 rifle on himself.

Mrs Boyd said when she spoke with David, he told her that he hated his father.

David considered Robin sneaky, because he listened in to conversations that had nothing to do with him, Mrs Boyd said.

Robin had separated from his wife Margaret, and David said they did not want him in the family home, but he would not leave.

Mrs Boyd said David was very specific about the funeral he wanted for his family.

He had picked out particular music to be played for each of the family, and what each would be dressed in.

In the case of his sister Arawa, 19, David wanted her dressed in a particular gown and a "super bra", Mrs Boyd said.

David wanted the song, Who wants to live Forever, played for Laniet, which Mrs Boyd said she found totally inappropriate.

Mrs Boyd said she had a five-hour talk with David on the night of June 22.

David got quite distressed talking about his brother Stephen, 14. He was concerned Stephen had been shot through the hand while defending himself.

David said Stephen could get quite angry.

He described his sister Laniet as being quite sweet.

"It was a very relaxed situation."

David spoke about not having a family and nowhere to live anymore. Mrs Boyd said she suggested he would move on and get married and have a family, which David seemed quite happy about.

It was going to be the birthday of David's sister Arawa six days after the killings. David suggested a party at the family home, which Mrs Boyd told him was totally inappropriate. David then said the party could be held at Arawa's gravesite.

The court earlier heard that a controlled fire that destroyed the Bain family home ended up looking like a "funeral pyre".

The house was destroyed by the Fire Service following the deaths of five members of the Bain family in June, 1994.

David Bain's uncle, Michael Bain, said that following the deaths the property was valued and found to be worth more without the house on it.

He and his brother-in-law, as executors of the Bains' will, suggested to David that the house be destroyed. David had no objections.

Defence lawyer, Michael Reed QC, today put to Mr Bain that the fire turned out to be spectacular, and looked like a funeral pyre.

Mr Bain said the controlled blaze did turn out to be much more spectacular than expected.

Asked in hindsight if it was not a very pleasant thing to do, Mr Bain said he was saddened by it.

The court heard that Mr Bain asked David in prison if he killed his family, but did not get an answer either way.

Mr Bain said he put the question to his nephew because no other member of the family had posed it.

He said David did not say he did it, but did not say he didn't do it either. David said he had told his side of it to the police and he would stick to that.

In December, 1994, Mr Bain said he visited David in prison again and discussed with him his "space-outs" that had been reported. David had earlier told a friend he may have experienced one of these episodes of blacking out in a period he could not account for on the morning of the killings.

David described it to Mr Bain as a hiccup rather than a serious epilepsy problem.

David told him there were times he was "out of it" for about 20 minutes at a time and couldn't explain it. He only knew he went through these episodes because others told him.

Mr Bain said David also told him that his mother, Margaret, had taught him self-hypnosis, which he used as a means of being able to find Jesus when under stress.

David mentioned there had been tensions in the family, and these were worse when Robin was at home. David said the rest of the family felt dominated by Robin. David said his sister Laniet, 18, had left the family home because of this.

Mr Bain said Robin was very proud of his children.

In letters Robin wrote to his wider family he did not share problems in his marriage. He did not want to worry his mother with these, Mr Bain said.

Mr Bain agreed with Mr Reed that after he asked if David if he killed his family, he told police that David had certainly not admitted he was responsible.

Mr Reed pointed out that David refused to see Mr Bain on two separate occasions in prison. Mr Reed asked if this was because David had began to distrust him because of information being passed to the police, Mr Bain said he did not know.

Mr Bain agreed David told him he found it difficult to express grief around others.

"I thought he was being very stoic."

Mr Bain said his brother Robin did not disclose problems he was having in his marriage in letters he wrote to his mother because he did not want to worry her.

Questioned by defence lawyer, Michael Reed, Mr Bain said Robin did not tell him that he had separated from his wife, Margaret.

Robin did appear saddened about the prospect of returning to his marital problems in Dunedin after a holiday with his wider family in the North Island over the Christmas period in 1993-94.

But Mr Bain said he did not see signs of Robin's health deteriorating.

The defence say Robin's mental health deteriorated in the months before the killings, and he was clinically depressed.

Mr Bain said he was not aware of concerns expressed about Robin's personal hygiene prior to his death. He was aware Robin had spent time living in his Commer van.

"As far as I was concerned they were a happy family unit. Every family has its tensions."

The trial has been called to a halt for the day because of the absence of a juror.

Witnesses were due to be called in the High Court trial this afternoon, but when the court reconvened this afternoon, a juror was missing.

Justice Graham Panckhurst said the case could not proceed and released the remaining 11 jurors for the day.

- NZ Herald

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