Fresh charges laid against murder-accused farmer Ian Turnbull
Daily Telegraph – 6 Aug, 2014
POLICE have laid fresh charges against accused murderer Ian Turnbull, alleging the 79-year-old farmer assaulted environment officer Robert Strange and held him against his will around the time he is accused of a shooting murder.
Turnbull appeared via video link at Moree Local Court yesterday, charged with the July 29 murder of Office of Environment and Heritage employee Glen Turner.
Colleague Robert Strange was with father-of-two Mr Turner at the time of the alleged murder about 5.40pm at Croppa Creek, 60km from Moree. Turnbull allegedly shot Mr Turner at least four times with a rifle, with one shot hitting the victim in the back.
The Office of Environment and Heritage said Mr Turner “was not issuing a compliance notice at the time nor was he on Mr Turnbull’s property”.
Police also confirmed Turner was on public land at the time of the incident.
The Turnbull family had faced Land and Environment Court orders to remediate their land after it was ruled the clearing of trees had breached the Native Title Vegetation Act.
Turnbull’s family last night said: “Mr Turner had been on the property that day prior to the incident.”
The family added that the wheat farmer’s staff, who saw him hours before the shooting, said he was just “doing his stuff and planning for the next day, at that point it still seemed normal”.
Turnbull was denied bail and will reappear at Moree Local Court on September 22.
In state parliament yesterday, Environment Minister Rob Stokes appeared close to tears as both sides of politics paid tribute to Mr Turner, 51, of Tamworth.
“Glen was clearly a beautiful man who led a beautiful life and leaves a beautiful family and legacy,” Mr Stokes told parliament. “We thank him for his service, we grieve his loss.”
Mr Stokes said concerns over land use and conservation issues must be resolved in a “climate of respect”.
He announced that flags will fly at half mast on all Department of Environment and Heritage buildings this weekend as a mark of respect.
Public Service Association general secretary Anne Gardiner said: “As communities are getting less tolerant in general our public servants are being placed at more risk.”
Ms Gardiner said public servants were being impacted by “changing societal behaviour where people perhaps are not as respectful as they should be. This (lack of respect) is going to increase the potential for injury and risk,” she said.