David Bain wanted people to think he came from a perfect background.
“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.”
That was David Bain talking to Justice Ian Binnie in 2012 when Binnie was interviewing David, then 40, about his bid for compensation for spending 13 years in jail.
Bain goes on to say in the interview that the family was a “very tight group” and that “we all supported each other, we had good relations and we liked being in each other’s presence”.
His comments to Binnie weren’t much different to what he said in his first trial in 1995 when he gave evidence in his own defence. He was then 23.
In his evidence he said he had a “wonderful” relationship with his mother and a “great” relationship with his father.
He had a “very good friendship” with Stephen, “got on really well” with Laniet and had a “really close friendship with Arawa”.
David more or less repeated the same narrative in 2012 at an innocence conference in Perth where he and Joe Karam were star attractions. He referred to his father as a role model and his mother as wise and a good friend.
How does this compare with reality?
At the time of the shootings the relationship between David’s parents was in tatters and Margaret wanted Robin to leave the family.
There was constant bickering and fighting. Margaret told an old acquaintance shortly before the murders she would shoot Robin if she could.
David sided strongly with his mother and had told others only Laniet stuck up for her father and that Laniet had a strained relationship with Margaret.
Robin had “got” Laniet, he said.
The evidence from both trials shows David was very close to his mother and that he shared her concerns and grievances about Robin. Margaret’s diaries show David often tried to please her and she tried to help him with hypnosis and clearing him of satanic influences.
When David looked back on the relationship in the Binnie interview, he said he had “the direct command” from his mother which put him in opposition to his father.
Despite David’s comments about his warm relationship with his father he told others he hated him and felt he was not his father.
He regarded Robin as manipulative and sneaky and was upset about him “listening into conversations” that had “nothing to do with him”. His father forced him into “guilt trips” and tried to “rule the roost”, he said.
David’s relationship with his sisters was also strange. Some of Laniet's and Arawa’s friends say David was controlling and even threatening. Plenty of material shows he kept tight tabs on them.
One friend talks about his unusual relationship with Laniet. He was jealous of her relationships with other men and they sometimes seemed more like girlfriend and boyfriend, she says.
It appears that close to the shootings, Laniet was scared of David and wanted to avoid a family meeting that he had called. Arawa told a friend the family was worried about David having a rifle in the house.
Did the family really want to be together? Clearly Robin and Laniet were living away from 65 Every St much of the time. David and Margaret were hoping to establish some sort of retreat or refuge which did not include Robin, and Laniet was hardly likely to return home. Sometimes Margaret talked about selling up and moving into a townhouse with Stephen.
Arawa, who was very loyal to her family, was talking about going flatting with some friends and was sick of her mother taking her anger out on her. David said she didn’t get on with Robin.
Despite David talking about his family as a loving and close unit he also agreed it was dysfunctional as his interview with Binnie in 2012 shows.
Binnie asked David if he thought a description of his family as dysfunctional was fair.
Binnie also asked him about the contradiction between David’s depiction of the relationship with his father and the reality.
David explained: “Isn't that exactly what you would try and portray to the world? That you come from a perfect environment?"