An elderly man accused of murdering an Environment and Heritage officer near Moree in north-western NSW has been refused bail.
Ian Robert Turnbull, 79, appeared in Moree Local Court on Wednesday charged with murdering father-of-two Glendon Turner, 51, of Tamworth, on Tuesday.
The court was told Mr Turnbull fired a number of shots at Mr Turner before a bullet struck the victim in the back, fatally injuring him.
Mr Turner had been serving a notice about 5.40pm on Tuesday near Talga Lane at Croppa Creek, relating to an inspection of a property after reports of illegal land clearing in the area.
His family said on Wednesday they would miss him greatly. Mr Turner, who was born near Port Macquarie, was married and had two children - Alexandra, 10, and Jack, 9.
"His passing comes at a time when his dreams of the farm and family, which he had planned and lovingly built together with Alison, were coming to fruition," a statement from the family said.
[Glendon Turner was shot dead on a property near Moree.]
Glendon Turner was shot dead on a property near Moree. Photo: Supplied
"Glen was an accomplished pianist, a gourmet enthusiast and cook, and appreciated a fine wine ... He always gravitated to the outdoor life and particularly loved taking his kids to the beach, whenever he returned to Port Macquarie - as well as enjoying his quiet time at home with the family and working together with Alison on their property."
Moree Plains Shire mayor Katrina Humphries said frustration over environmental issues around the Moree area had been so great in recent years that she had feared that it would erupt in violence, but that it "shouldn't get to this".
During the bail hearing, the court heard Mr Turnbull had been in a long running dispute with the Office of Environment and Heritage over illegal land clearing in the Croppa Creek area.
He was charged with illegally clearing native vegetation between November 2011 and January 2012 and pleaded guilty in the Land and Environment Court.
The prosecutor, the Director-General of the Office of Environment and Heritage, said Mr Turnbull used a bulldozer to clear 421 hectares of the property called "Colorado", owned by his son Grant Wesley Turnbull, and 73 hectares of the adjacent property, called "Strathdoon", owned by his grandson Corey Ian Turnbull.
After contracts were exchanged but before the sales settled, Mr Turnbull and another unnamed man felled 2708 trees on Colorado and 694 trees on Strathdoon. Trees were pushed over and formed into piles and set alight. The family then raked out the ash heaps, ploughed the cleared land, applied herbicides to kill any emerging vegetation and sowed commercial crops of wheat and barley.
Mr Turnbull, who was arrested late on Tuesday night, appeared distraught and emotional when he was led into the dock on Wednesday.
Magistrate Darryl Pearce said there was an unacceptable risk that could not be mitigated by proposed bail conditions and the serious nature of the allegations meant imprisonment would be likely if Mr Turnbull was convicted.
Mr Turnbull will remain in custody until the case returns to court on August 5.
Office of Environment and Heritage chief executive Terry Bailey said in a statement that Mr Turner was fatally injured when he and a colleague were undertaking their duties near Croppa Creek.
“Glen was a senior compliance officer and had been a NSW public servant since 2000, having joined OEH from the Department of Natural Resources in 2007,” Mr Bailey said.
“Glen was one of our most experienced compliance officers.
“He was a respected and well-liked colleague and friend to many.
“Glen is survived by his wife Alison and their two children who are in our thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.
“The loss of a colleague touches us all, even more so under such tragic circumstances.
Mr Bailey said that he and NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes would travel to Tamworth and Armidale on Thursday to meet Mr Turner’s family.
smh.com.au, with Megan Levy and Louise Hall