Ian Binnie’s interview with David Bain
As part of his investigation into David Bain’s compensation claim, Justice Ian Binnie interviewed David at Auckland’s Copthorne Hotel over a single day in July, 2012. The murders occured on 20 June 1994 and this interview took place 18 years later. David had difficulty remembering certain aspects of what he saw and did when he got back to the house and found his entire family had been shot and killed. Justice Binnie noted:
“According to the psychiatric evidence the shock of finding his mother dead was profound and would have had a powerful effect on his short term memory. Defence experts at the 2009 trial testified that David Bain suffered post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which frequently causes partial memory loss of the traumatic events that induced it… [Nevertheless] I found David Bain to be a credible witness. His recollection of the relevant events, while not complete, is consistent with the circumstantial evidence.”
The following are brief extracts from David’s conversation with Ian Binnie that took 113 pages to record. See the full interview here (Tab G pages 84-197).
Question: Did you notice anything up to the 20th of June  that would indicate to you, even with the benefit of hindsight, that there was some sexual relation between your father and [your sister Laniet]?
David: If I look back and see the stress signs, see the, the fact that you know, Laniet even went out to live with you know, Dad at Taieri Mouth. Um, the fact that Dad would actually go to, um, to her flat where she stayed and paid her rent, you know.
He supported her in those, in those instances. There weren’t things I was aware of or ever really paid any attention to at the time but – so if you think, asking in hindsight, yes I can see some of those things that might be indicative.
Question: It was said that she [family friend Joanna Dunn] would relate that your mother, this is some 25 years earlier, had been concerned that your father’s mental state was such that he might get a gun and shoot everybody. Does that anecdote ring a bell? Were you ever to hear such a thing?
David: It doesn’t ring a bell and I mean I’m surprised that anyone would say that of my father because, I mean, contrary to, you know, how things have proceeded through the trials and so on, I’ve respected my father. I still do and the man that I knew, not the man that committed these things, but the man that I knew, would never have harmed his family. I mean that’s a strong statement to state, to say right now in this sort of a situation knowing that, you know, my innocence, it depends on proving my father actually did commit these crimes…
Question: And can you just briefly describe what you saw?
David: I saw [Margaret Bain] propped up [inaudible] several pillows, I wouldn’t say it was a sleeping position, it was just – she was slightly elevated and, um, ah, I just remember the, you know, there was blood on her face, um, just purple in this, in the eye, well, of the eyelid.
Question: The pathologists say it is more likely they were closed?
David: It, it, it’s that image I have is only through trauma and I believe because now I’m sorry the images that I have of my family are so distorted that, as in, you know, I sometimes if I’m recalling a scene, I see a photo from the evidence, other times if I’m recalling a scene, it’s something that has come from a dream that I’ve had.
Q. Why did it immediately strike you [Robin Bain] was dead?
David: Um , I don’t know other than – sorry I’ve gotta go back into that place in my memory. On entering the room, I – was only the, the impressions that I have now is that I mean it was, he was still, also, I don’t even have a picture in my mind of what I saw.
Q. Would you – there’s no compulsion to make a statement. I just want the – you to be clear that the opportunity is there should you wish to say something.
David: The only thing I can reiterate is that these five members of my family were my life. They were part of who I was. We were extremely close. We all loved each other dearly. The last thing that I could possibly have done is to take their lives. I find it difficult hurting an animal, but to take a person’s life, let alone my own family’s life is unimaginable and not only have I served 13 years in prison for doing this, I’ve also served the so-called sentence of being labelled a convicted killer and a murderer and you know, a monster, and being told on a daily basis that I’m a psychopath and I was psychotic and all these various, horrible, you know, psychiatric issues and all this … I’ve had all of this to deal with and so the pain and the anguish that I have felt has been, you know, from the original mourning has been compounded time and time again. I want to assure you that the last thing I could have done if we strip away all those immaterial aspects of things and all the names I’ve been called, the last thing that I should be called is a murderer ‘cos I did not kill my family.