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NSW land officer's murder haunts friend

AAP logoAAP 2/10/2016 Anna Hitchings

A man who watched his friend and colleague die at the hands of an enraged farmer two years ago says he still struggles with nightmares.

Robert Strange watched helplessly as farmer Ian Turnbull shot and killed his fellow NSW environment officer Glen Turner.

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

He shot Mr Turner twice, ignoring Mr Strange's pleas to stop, and fired the third and fatal shot as his victim made a desperate dash for safety.

"It's a struggle, living with the nightmares," Mr Strange told the Seven Network on Sunday. "And they're not nightmares, because they actually happened."

In June, Justice Peter Johnson jailed Turnbull for a maximum of 35 years for the murder and for detaining Mr Strange for advantage.

The judge said Turnbull had built up a strong resentment, even hatred, for Mr Turner and his employer, the Office of Environment and Heritage, over battles about alleged illegal land clearing.

"He (Turnbull) went there with the sole intention, in my opinion, of killing Glen Turner," Mr Strange said on Sunday. "He didn't leave that location until he believed that he had killed him."

After shooting Mr Turner twice, the farmer held both officers at gunpoint for 20 minutes, accusing the victim of persecuting the Turnbull family and saying "the only way you are going home is in a body bag".

After the third, fatal shot, Turnbull looked at Mr Strange and said "I'm going home to wait for the police. You can go now," Mr Strange recounted.

Mr Strange says he has been suffering post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident.

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