This is the story of a mass-murder that divided a nation - a story that began in a rickety old home on a cold June morning in 1994, where five members of a seemingly ordinary New Zealand family were gunned down. There were two suspects. One lay dead from a single bullet to the head. The other was the only survivor: David Bain. Since then the country has asked: who killed the Bain family? David or his father Robin? In this podcast, Martin van Beynen explores the case from start to finish, picking through evidence, the mysteries and motives, and interviewing never-before-spoken-to witnesses. He seeks to finally answer the question: Who was the killer?
1. House Of Horrors
It's June 20, 1994. Police are called to a rundown home in Dunedin, New Zealand. They're not sure what to expect after a panicked phone call.
But inside were five dead bodies, a chaotic scene and and several clues pointing to the killer.
2. Mrs Bain, The Diary And The Devil
By any standard, this family was unusual, even bizarre.
Mother Margaret Bain's complicated spiritual life and beliefs meant the family was constantly encouraged to put Satan behind them.
She practised self hypnosis, meditation and channelling. Their life in Papua New Guinea helped to concentrate the family's oddness. How did it influence the slaughter?
3. A Family's Final Days
From the outside, the Bain family seemed to have settled into a new life in Dunedin.
Eldest son David was on a new path, while sister Laniet appeared to have given up prostitution and Arawa was thriving as a budding teacher.
But in the six months before the shootings, cracks began to emerge.
4. "The Bastard Killed His Family"
The shootings appalled the country and deeply shocked the community and wider Bain family.
Yet sole survivor David Bain's unusual reaction surprised many. Loyalties were tested. Suspicions were raised. And then an arrest is made.
5. Incest, Blackmail, Murder
Motive has always been the most puzzling aspect of the Bain shootings.
Neither Robin nor David seemed like mass killers. But both had reasons to kill.
6. Bloodied Fingerprints, Broken Glasses
Although police initially regarded the shootings as a murder/suicide, evidence began to mount against David Bain.
His fingerprints were on the rifle, he had blood on his T-shirt, a lens from glasses in his bedroom were found in his dead brother's room and he had injuries that were consistent with a fight.
Boggles my mind that anyone could think this man is innocent. Makes feel sick to think he murdered 5 people and not only got off, but also got a paid holiday in Europe. So gross.
Want to give it 100 stars
An absolutely exceptional podcast. For someone who has listened to a lot of true crime, this has been my favourite and it will be very hard to beat. I especially loved episode eleven and how elegantly Martin was in proving his points against certain people in the justice system. A miscarriage of justice definitely occurred and that’s for sure.
Heartbreakingly dark; respectfully examined
Being a long-term “murderino”, I’ve heard many podcasts and read many books that cover this tragic story. Not one of them are as poignant and/or elegant as Black Hands.
Thank you for allowing us to be with you throughout this devastating journey through darkness; shedding light with poise and respect.
Huge fan. About to listen for the third time (in 18 months). Also, I absolutely love the Stan mini-series based on your podcast and book; I think they’ve done a wonderful job in really capturing (as much as possible) the family - both individually and as a whole - and shedding light on the “odd” events leading up to the murders.
Thanks for what you do, Martin. The world is not worthy of journalists of your caliber. And yet we need you. People such as you, in my opinion, are like a lighter to a cigarette. Thank you.