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Pathologist Describes Fatal Wounds On Bain Family

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Bain. Pic: NZPA
David Bain. Pic: NZPA

Christchurch, April 6 NZPA - Graphic of the small calibre gunshot wounds that killed members of the Bain family were described to the jury in evidence and photographs at the David Bain murder trial in the High Court at Christchurch today.

Bain denies charges of murdering five members of his family at their home in Every Street, Dunedin, in June 1994.

Pathologist Dr Alexander Dempster did the post mortem examinations on all five members of the family and told the court about the injuries to the three children and mother Margaret Bain.

He said Arawa, David Bain's sister, was shot in the right forehead from a distance. She had less damage in her head than any other victim but probably died in a relatively short period, he said.

She would have been immediately incapacitated but may have continued to breathe. Her cause of death was a small calibre gunshot wound to the head.

Margaret Bain was shot in bed in the area of her eye socket and bled from her nose and mouth.

She survived long enough to breathe blood into her lungs, but probably not for more than a few minutes, Dr Dempster said.

He said the killer would have been at the side of the bed and would have angled the rifle upwards to kill her. There was an indentation on the duvet where the person may have put his knee.

Bain's sister Laniet was lying in bed when she was shot in the cheek, which Dr Dempster said would have been the first shot to strike her. It would have incapacitated her although the bloodstains on her hands probably meant she would have been trying to discover what had happened.

She was shot twice more and either of those shots could have killed her.

There was no way he could tell how long she breathed for, but she had frothy fluid from her nose on the pillow. She inhaled blood and had fluid in her lungs.

It was likely sounds such as a gurgling noise could have been heard.

One wound on the top of her head was extraordinarily large for a .22 calibre wound, but this was probably because the silencer had been held tightly against the skull as it was fired.

Bain's brother, 14-year-old Stephen, who struggled violently with his attacker, had a bullet wound in the palm of his hand which may have happened when he was grappling with the firearm. It passed through his hand, along his scalp making a 4cm furrow, and went into the pillow.

He bled heavily from this wound as the fight went on.

The t-shirt he was wearing was either twisted around his neck or pulled hard back causing major obstruction of his airway. He probably lost consciousness or became incapable of further resistance.

The next shot hit him on the top of his head and would have caused rapid or virtually instantaneous death, said Dr Dempster. He believed Stephen would have been semi-upright when that shot was fired.

Stephen also had abrasions and bruises from the struggle.

This morning a police officer, recalled to the witness stand, said he did not believe a fellow officer would stoop so low as to plant evidence.

Detective Jacques Le Gros was recalled by crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery to be questioned about a defence claim that Detective Sergeant Milton Weir planted a spectacles lens in the bedroom of Stephen Bain.

Mr Le Gros worked with Mr Weir gathering evidence from Stephen's room.

He was asked by Mr Raftery: "If you had seen him planting it, what would you have done?"

He said he would have reported it to Detective Senior Sergeant James Doyle, who was the second in charge of the investigation.

Cross-examined by defence counsel Helen Cull, QC, he said he was not with Mr Weir constantly so could not tell his movements 100 percent.

"I do not believe he would stoop that low," he said.

The allegation of planting evidence was denied by Mr Weir in court last week.

The trial will resume at 2.15pm tomorrow.

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