The Empty Shell Casing and the bullet in the lounge

When the police entered the front room of the Bain house they found Robin Bain's dead body beside a coffee table. Attached to this front room was a small alcove divided by some green curtains. The gap between these curtains was about 4 inches.  Inside the alcove was a computer, and by the computer chair was found an empty 22 caliber shell casing, the police said if someone fired the rifle from the cover of the curtains the shell casing would have ejected to the right and landed where it was actually found, this implicates David because the chances of the rifle being fired in the front room and the shell ejecting and flying through the 4 inch gap in the curtains to land by the chair is almost nil. The evidence here strongly supports murder rather than suicide. 

A demonstration of how the shell ejects to the right of the person shooting can be seen   HERE   watch closely, this is with the actual murder weapon.


The 10 shot magazine was faulty when fired. The spent case was flicked through the gap in the curtains when fired by the killer but the next round, instead of loading into the breech, was flicked out live and hit the curtain on the lounge side where it was later found by the police. The killer must have stood between the two chairs and called the victim out from the computer room and after two steps into the lounge, the murderer fired point blank. The faulty 10 shot magazine was then removed from the rifle and replaced with the 5 shot magazine and a round was worked into the breech ready to fire again in case it was needed, just as it was found later by police. However, note that it was only the faulty 10 shot magazine that caused the next live round to be flicked out unfired and the victim could not have removed that 10 shot magazine as he was already dead. The opportunist could then type a message on the computer.

In reply to by murph



Interesting comments Murph, I must admit that exactly how Robin Bain was shot is total guesswork, at one stage I believed Robin was shot while sitting on the bean bag but that is not consistent with the drops of his blood found on the green curtain, I don't really agree with the crown case that Robin was kneeling by the curtains when shot because of the blood found on both of his trouser legs. You say the 10 shot magazine was faulty but in my experience the part that usually fails and causes misfeeds-misfiring etc is the firing pin bolt, I think to get an idea of exactly how Robin was shot one would need to know exactly where every single speck of blood landed in that lounge area I do know for instance that there was blood spatter on the coffee table. I intend to do some more major research on this subject.


In reply to by murph


This is very interesting - but I am not altogether clear as to the sequence of events.  Can I outline my understanding of the scenario you have suggested.

The murderer had the 10 round magazine in the rifle when he fired the fatal shot from behind the curtain. This shell automatically ejected and was found by the leg of the computer chair.

However the magazine was faulty and and rather than inserting a live round into the breech, the live round was ejected.  Why was this round not found? Are you suggesting he then removed the 10 mag and replaced it with the 5 mag. The killer would then have worked the action and inserted a live round in the breech leaving 4 in the mag. I presume the rifle was loaded when found by the police.

Now, for Robin to have shot himself, I assume he would have started with a 5 round magazine. He would have worked the action and inserted a round in the breech leaving 4 in the mag. He then shot himself leaving 3 rounds in the mag and a live round in the breech.   Do we know how many rounds were in the mag when found and if there was a live round in the breech.  Of course we have to make the assumption that the mag had 5 rounds when inserted and the breech was empty.

Have I got this right?

Another point unrelated to the above.  It appears Laniet was shot while she slept.  There is no way she would have slept through the commotion in Stephen's room (We know it awoke Arawa downstairs).  Therefore I can't understand why the police have questioned the sequence of the murders.  Surely it must have been Laniet - Margaret - Stephen - Arawa. (of course Laniet was finished off with another couple of shots - probably after her other siblings were dead).

In reply to by murph


Thanks. That clarifies things. I did not realize a live round was found as well as the empty shell behind the curtain.  If we postulate a Robin suicide, it makes it difficult to understand where the live round on the floor came from.   

Also -- i doubt Robin was in working on the computer. His glasses were in the caravan.  I am a similar age and I certainly cannot read a computer screen without glasses.

Surely the footprints would have been made by killer returning to Laniet's room to finish her off.  I cannot accept that she slept through the commotion in Stephen's room. She (like Arawa) would have been out of her bed wondering what the hell all the noise was about.


This is what the Crown Prosecutor had to say in his summing up at the first trial.

"The sequence of events will never be known exactly. But we know the mother preceded Stephen. And we know Arawa was the last of the four. Whether Laniet was shot first or the mother we may never know".

If one looks at the plan of the house one can see Stephen's room is some distance from Laniet's room so she may not have heard anything. However it does appear that Arawa heard something,but she may have heard noises coming from Laniet's room.

One scenario could be that Laniet is shot first through the cheek which incapacitates her. Then Margaret,then Stephen,then back to Laniet. Arawa hears something and gets out of bed. David fires a shot above her head and makes her get down on her knees before he shoots her.

I don't believe Robin was working at the computer. He may have turned it on with the intention of using it later to collate some information in preparation for that meeting he was going to that morning.

As I said earlier, an ESR scientist now believes Robin Bain was standing when he was shot. Perhaps David went behind the alcove curtains before he shot his father to stop blood spatter getting on his clothes. I doubt that his father would have put up any resistance. And as I have also said before donaldbob,a firearms instructor,has given us a good reason as to how that live bullet came to be on the lounge floor. His post can be found in the Evidence against David Bain section above,under the heading The rifle magazine appeared to have been planted.

Mike - I think your suggested sequence of the murders is correct. DB said he heard Laniet gurgling and he was quite definite about that. I don't for a moment buy the mortician story about dead bodies making sounds - especially in this case.  Therefore the likely sequence was that L was shot first followed by M, then S, then A and then L was finished off as she was gurgling.  Nothing else makes sense to me.

Seriously - Stephen would have been shouting and screaming and furniture would have been tossed about. It is hard to believe that Laniet would have slept through all that - Arawa certainly didn't and she was further away.

Another thing we shouldn't take for granted - the curtains may have been drawn to the 4 inch gap after Robin was shot. 

Laniet may well have been shot in the head with one shot first. However, the bloody footprints show them leading from Steven's room into Laniet's room but sure, that could have been a second visit to fire at her again because she was still gurgling which would have certainly been disturbing for the murderer to draw him back in to fire two more. Three cartridges were found in her room, plus the two live rounds flicked out unfired from the now inserted faulty 10 shot magazine. The murderer would have used up all the remaining rounds in the 5 shot magazine rounds when he was in Steven's room and had to insert the 10 shot magazine. His plan was probably one easy shot to the head each while sleeping with one shot to spare using the 5 shot magazine, but Steven messed that plan up by fighting back.

If you believe the time the computer was turned on was 6.44am or perhaps the later corrected time of 6.41am, then either way it was before David got home from his paper run which was 6.45am so we need to accept that father Robin must have turned the computer on. He was in all probablity still in the computer alcove when David walked into the house and picked up his rifle. The position of both murderer and victim standing in the lounge together and firing point blank is the best answer to explain both the cartridge ejecting through the gap in the curtains and also the faulty 10 shot magazine flicking out a live round to hit the curtains and drop down on the lounge side.

I know about Donaldbob's jamming explanation but this is different and no one seems to have grasped it yet. A split in the faulty 10 shot magazine means when the bolt ejects the fired cartridge from the breech and continues backwards, the next round has already freed itself due to the split in the top edge of the magazine and the round is pushed up by the magazine spring underneath to fly freely out of the rifle before the forward moving bolt can pick it up properly - the live round has already flicked out of the rifle unhindered and unfired, leaving the breech empty. The evidence of this is the four unfired live rounds in Laniet's room, Arawa's room and the lounge. This would not happen if the magazine gripped and held the rounds in securely until the forward moving bolt connected properly to shunt the round forward and into the breech. And yes I am a firearms owner.

In reply to by murph


Ok murph. I have used a 22 rifle but the magazine wasn't faulty. Your explanation is comprehensive.

I don't have a problem with Robin Bain turning the computer on,but I do have a problem with David Bain shooting him shortly after coming into the house.
If he did that why did he wait 20 minutes or more to phone 111?
And if he is telling the truth about not bringing the paper in then why would Robin have brought it in when he could have left it for David to bring in?

I can't accept that Robin turned on the computer. His glasses were in the caravan.

In reply to by Charles



There is nothing I have ever read that makes me believe Robin turned on the computer, I believe he woke when his alarm went off and obviously turned on the radio and maybe did some reading, and then entered the house at about 7am. I believe the approximate time of 6.43 6.44 for the turn on time is spot on for when David walked into the house after all he did say he was home shortly after 6.40 not 6.45 or 6.50 as the defence would like us to believe, ok we do have Laney saying she saw David at the gate at 6.45 but lets be sensible here folks we are talking about JUST ONE minute here, all it would have taken is for Laney’s digital clock to gain just one extra minute before it was checked by police and bingo, or for the computer to have actually be turned on at 6.45.30 and bingo again.The murders were planned remember, he would have thought about typing that suicide note days if not weeks before the murders they were planned murders the suicide note had to be typed on the computer, not hand written.


Mike there is no way in hell David Bain would have taken the risk of Robin entering the house at 6.40 as you have said, Why? because he could have seen what David had done and of course rang the police immediately, meaning disaster for David. Robins alarm was set for 6.30 and we know for sure Robin turned on the radio because it was still going when police arrived why would he turn on the radio if he had no intention of listening to it, and probably reading his book, his usual time for entering the house was around 7am and that's when the girl next door said the dog went nuts, “when he was shot” then we have David describing the twenty minutes to a detective as slow, well it would be waiting for Robin “the detective picked up on that one”. I don’t believe for a minute that Robin jumped out of bed when the alarm went off at 6.30 and went to turn on the computer, he was not in a hurry as far as we know that day as he was not going to school but had the appointment in town. A guy of that age on a freezing June morning would have stayed in his bunk as long as possible. As I have said the murders were planned Who needed the computer on? [answer]David, Who entered the house at about the time the experts said the PC was turned on? [answer]David Who needed to type a note bloody early on a freezing cold June morning? [answer]David. Mike it makes no sense whatsoever for Robin to have been the one to turn on the computer at 6.40 in the morning. David knew Robins routine Mike and he planned the crime around it, just a no brainer to let Robin enter the house before he was home from the paper round alibi.

I agree Bill.  Your interpretation is logical and reasonable.  Most bedside clock radios are set to act as the wake up alarm - ie the radio comes on at 6.30 am and wakes the sleeper.

How would Robin have entered the house?   I assume he would have left the caravan and entered the back door, climbed the stairs and entered the lounge.  The other possibility is that he climbed the stairs, exited the front door to retrieve the ODT and then went back in the front door and into the lounge.  We don't know who bought the paper to the house.  A third possibility is that he left the caravan, walked around the house to the letterbox and then entered the house via the front door.

So many possibilities.  We will never know.

Charles I am almost certain there was no radio alarm the actual radio was seperate from the alarm so had to be turned on after the alarm woke Robin. If Robin collected the paper from the box the quickest route is for him to leave the caravan walk down the path beside the house to the front gate collect the paper then enter the front door which as David said was not locked. Yes we do know who brought in the ODT at least David said he did not so that only leaves Robin. Yes it is guess work but having as many facts as possible at hand helps that guess.

Thanks Bill.  I have just checked the photograph of the caravan interior and I can see on old cassette radio so you are right. It would have had to be manually turned on.  Odd that both the books he was reading were about murders - in one case a son murdering his family one by one!.   Of course Karam made a feast of this but the books could have been planted deliberately.  What is so frustrating about this case is that every main plank of evidence has a degree of doubt attached to it.  All up all the doubts and you end up with a semi-plausible case - as we know!


Charles Joe Karam has worked hard for years to try and create doubts about the evidence against Bain. I believe that the case against David Bain is very strong a lot stronger now than it was at the first trial, for instance we now know for sure all the blood on Robins clothes was his own, we know now all the blood on the back and front of David's shirt and pants was from Stephen. We did not know that for sure at the first trial. I collect every photograph available and every news item court report transcripts, video etc etc on the Bain case I have hundreds of files, as well as major pieces of evidence against David there are a thousand smaller pieces that hardly get a mention but they all point the finger always at David not the father here is the shortcut to a page just dedicated to questions that David should have been able to answer but couldn't HERE. No Charles don;t buy into the case against David as not being strong, yes as you said there is a degree of doubt about evidence against David but this is the same as every circumstantial murder case in the world, most police forces around the world would see the evidence against David as a treasure trove, fresh fingerprints on the murder weapon, glasses he told his lawyer he was wearing broken with a lens just 6 inches from his dead brother, washing very bloody clothes just to mention part of the treasure trove.


Bill - I have only seen the photos published in Karam's books and on this website. Are there any other photos in the public domain? 

It would be fascinating to be able to study them in detail - but I guess the police have decided they are too sensitive for general dissemination (and that's fair enough).

I believe one can have two theories about this. And a lot depends on whether David Bain is telling the truth or not.
One theory would go like this.
David Bain said his father usually entered the house at around 6.40am and went into the lounge to pray for 20 minutes.
Then at around 7am he would go down and pick up the paper if David hadn't already brought it in. David said he didn't arrive home until after 7am if he walked the paper round,and one witness has confirmed that he quite often saw David walking up Every Street after 7 o'clock. Then Robin would presumably have breakfast,read the paper and leave for school by 7.30am so as to arrive at school between 8.20 am and 8.30am as those timesheets the police produced said he did.
That all makes sense to me.
But what happened on that Monday morning ? How about this.
David Bain by his own estimation arrives home at between 6.42 and 6.43 am. For some reason he waits at the gate for a couple of minutes and Denise Laney sees him at around 6.45am. Why did he wait at the gate?. Maybe he wanted to make sure his father was in the house. Perhaps there were lights that he could see that would confirm that.
But that morning there were no lights because his father had decided to stay in bed for an extra half hour and listen to the radio and read a book. Why would he have done that? Because he wasn't going to school first thing. He had made an appointment with an Education Board official that morning and I believe one could presume that he would be going to see her before going to school. I very much doubt that he would have gone all the way out to Taiera Beach and then come back into town,and then gone back to school again.
So David goes into the house and while he is waiting for his father he turns the computer on,say at around 6.46.
He had intended to shoot his father as soon as he got home and then phone the emergency services. Any delay in ringing them would cause the police to be suspicious. But he waits and he waits, Time goes slowly. When his father eventually comes into the house at ,say around 7am he immediatly confronts him and shoots him. Sets up the scene to make it look like his father has committed suicide and then phones the emergency services. The only thing that does not fit that scenario is the paper. I now believe that for some reason ,probably because he was caught unawares by the question,David Bain lied when he said he didn't bring the paper in. I believe he did bring it in ,just like he always said he did when he ran the paper round.
Another reason why David Bain would have wanted to be home shortly after his father entered the house would be to make sure his father hadn't realised that something was amiss. He would have wanted to make sure he was dead before he had time to contact the police.
Pick the bones out of that.

Mike you say [Another reason why David Bain would have wanted to be home shortly after his father entered the house would be to make sure his father hadn't realised that something was amiss.] I say "no way" would David want Robin in the house before he got home, that would have been a total cock up of monumental proportions for David. People said when thay got their paper that morning it was deliverd early "why" because David just had to be back in the house waiting for Robin so he could complete the mission.

What risk would there really have been.?  So long as David had started the washing machine by around 5.30am it wouldn't be going. The lighting in that house wasn't all that great. Robin Bain wouldn't have been looking in any bedrooms.  I still say David wouldn't have been expecting for Robin to come into the house at around 7am.
He would have wanted to phone 111 pdq.  Denise Laney had seen Bain before. She only took 5 minutes to get to work. She said she always saw him further down Every Street,so he wasn't that early.
I am sure David wanted to be home pretty close to when Robin was due to enter the house. That is why he checked his watch. He was probably sweating on the time.  But when he saw no lights were on he knew he was in the clear. But then he had to wait ,remember how he said everything was slow? I bet every minute seemed like an hour. How was he going to explain the delay in phoning the emergency services? And he couldn't explain it. Karam said he must have fainted.
Fainted my arse,excuse my French.

In reply to by murph


That was a very clear explanation murph.  My knowledge of firearms is fairly rudimentary but is the following correct:

Assume the breech is empty and a 10 round magazine is inserted into the rifle.

The bolt is pulled back -- does the spring immediately eject the round, and if so why does it not continue to eject the next round?

I assume the first round gets popped out by the spring and then the bolt moves forward and sends the next round into the breech.

There are now 8 rounds left in the mag.

The rifle is fired, the bolt pulled back which ejects the shell and allows a live round to pop out. The bolt goes forward taking the next round into the breech.  There are now 6 rounds in the mag and so on.   Is this correct?

Now the gun jammed in Stephens room which means he must have had the 10 round mag in the rifle.  What causes it to jam? Is it that the bolt is going forward just as the round is in the process of being popped out and the bolt catches it before it is fully ejected?

Has the rifle been tested to show that it never jams with the 5 magazine - only the 10 mag?

Sorry if this is a bit convoluted but I would really like to have a clear understanding of this. A live round was found near Robin. That means the 10 mag must have been in the rifle at that stage and yet the rifle was found with the 5 mag inserted.  

Finally, how many rounds were in the 5 and 10 magazines when found by police.

In reply to by murph


According to the police, the gun did jam in Stephen's room. That is why the killer had to remove his gloves to clear it. Did the police find a live round in Stephen's room?

In reply to by murph


I never experienced a problem with rounds being flicked out from a split magazine, but I agree with Murph that this could happen, and present a possible explanation.

Thanks for that ,donaldbob.  So now we have two explanations as to why that live bullet was found on the lounge floor.

But maybe it was just a case of the rifle jamming and David Bain reloading it while he father was standing there waiting to be shot.  Robin Bain was known to be a very gentle man. Perhaps he just accepted the inevitable without putting up a fight.

That makes three explanations.

In reply to by murph



Murph if what you say about a live round being found in the breach is true then that is absolute proof that Robin Bain did not shoot himself, however the rifle was a semi automatic which means when a shot is fired another cartridge is immediately transferred into the breach so the fact a cartridge was in the breach is not proof that Robin could not have shot himself, Nice try though Murph, wish you were right. 


You can always stop a washing machine cycle part way thru and set it going again to complete the cycle later.  A handwash would have also done the trick and then dropped it in the top of the load in the washing machine.

In reply to by murph


When would David Bain have stopped the washing machine?
Could he have made that red sweatshirt look like it had been spin dried?

In reply to by murph


When would David Bain have stopped the washing machine?
Could he have made that red sweatshirt look like it had been spin dried?

In reply to by murph


Ok murph, I guess David Bain could have made it look like that red sweatshirt went through the wash if he wrung it out hard.
Very clever of him to think of that.  Say the red sweatshirt he was wearing was put in the washing machine when he arrived home .