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Farmer Ian Turnbull jailed for murdering environment officer Glen Turner

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Ian Turnbull jailed for 35 years

The farmer who was accused of killing environmental officer Glen Turner near Moree is convicted of murder and sentenced to 35 years jail. Courtesy ABC News 24.

A farmer who gunned down a NSW environment officer during a protracted and terrifying ordeal has been jailed for at least 24 years.

Ian Turnbull, now 81, used a hunting rifle to murder Glen Turner, 51, who was on public land with a colleague on July 29, 2014, near the farmer’s property at Croppa Creek in the state’s north.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Peter Johnson jailed Turnbull for a maximum of 35 years for the “terrifying and shattering” murder and for detaining his colleague for advantage.

Murderer Ian Turnbull is escorted out of court during the trial image www.ozrural.com.au

Murderer Ian Turnbull is escorted out of court during the trial. Photo: James Alcock

Justice Johnson said it was a de facto life sentence for the farmer, who has a life expectancy of just eight years.

Mr Turner’s wife, Alison McKenzie, as well as his family, friends and Office of Environment and Heritage colleagues watched as the sentence was handed down.

Speaking outside court, Ms McKenzie said the de facto life sentence was more than they had expected.

Glen Turner's widow Alison McKenzie, left, and his sister Fran Pearce image www.ozrural.com.au

Glen Turner’s widow Alison McKenzie, left, and his sister Fran Pearce, outside court on Thursday. Photo: Peter Rae

“It’s the end of a long road for us; it’ll never bring Glen back so no matter what sentence was given, it’s never going to change what happened and I’m just glad justice has prevailed,” she said.

“I’ve grown used to Glen not being around but the circumstances in which it happened, I will never ever be able to accept.”

During a judgment spanning an hour-and-a-half in front of a packed courtroom, Justice Johnson said he did not accept Turnbull had shown genuine remorse for the murder, or detaining Mr Turner’s colleague Robert Strange at gunpoint for more than 20 minutes.

Glen Turner, his wife Alison McKenzie and their children Jack and Alexandra image www.ozrural.com.au

Glen Turner, his wife Alison McKenzie and their children Jack and Alexandra. Photo: Tracy Fulford Photography

“The events … involved the offender prolonging the process of murdering Mr Turner, thereby heightening the terror to which Mr Turner was subjected, before the final and fatal show was fired,” he said.

Justice Johnson said Turnbull’s desire to clear the properties to increase their value and productivity was what brought him to the notice of the OEH.

“I am satisfied that the offender’s motive involved a desire for retaliation or revenge because of the offender’s belief that Mr Turner had been interfering with his efforts to clear and develop the two properties,” he said.

Pictures of burning stacks of native vegetation taken by Office of Environment and Heritage officer Robert Strange in Croppa Creek just before the killing of Glen Turner image www.ozrural.com.au

Pictures of burning stacks of native vegetation taken by Office of Environment and Heritage officer Robert Strange in Croppa Creek just before the killing of Glen Turner. Photo: NSW Police

Turnbull showed no emotion as the sentence was read out and only nodded once and waved at his wife, Robeena, seated in the front of the court.

Outside court, his son Grant Turnbull, said his father was dealing with the life sentence.

“Coping, coping is the best way to go,” he told media.

Ian Turnbull's wife Robeena leaves the court after her husband was sentenced image www.ozrural.com.au

Ian Turnbull’s wife Robeena leaves the court after her husband was sentenced

He said the murder prosecution and legal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court for alleged illegal land clearing had put his family under immense financial pressure, and took aim at the Native Vegetation Act.

“The frustration that’s out there, it’s not just my father, there are many people out there in rural NSW that are extremely frustrated, extremely frustrated with the way it is administered and the act itself, it just needs to change,” he said.

Turnbull was found guilty of murder late last month following a five-week trial where the jury heard the shooting followed years of tension over illegal land-clearing.

Turnbull pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of substantial impairment due to mental illness.

However, the jury rejected Turnbull’s defence, after one day of deliberations.

The defence had maintained Turnbull’s major depressive order was caused by years of tension over illegal land-clearing on the family’s properties at Croppa Creek.

A farmhand alerted Turnbull that Mr Turner was near his family properties, before the farmer drove to Talga Lane, Croppa Creek, in the early evening of July 29, 2014.

Turnbull confronted Mr Turner and shot him in the neck.

He then chased him around a car for at least 22 minutes and fired a number of shots before shooting him in the back – the shot that proved fatal.

Mr Strange told the trial he had pleaded with Turnbull to put the gun down.

Afterwards, Turnbull got in his car and drove home, where he was arrested.

During the trial, Turnbull gave evidence that he intended to kill Mr Turner when he hunted him down near his property and chased him around the car.

He has been in custody since the night of the murder.

Northern Daily Leader, with AAP

www.crimefiles.net

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Henry Sapiecha

June 27th, 2016
Topic: DEATHS GRIEF MOURNING, LAW POLICE CRIME, PEOPLE Tags: , , , ,

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