Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

West Coast farmer Russell Copland says locals trying to drive him out

Russell Copland pleaded not guilty to a charge of threatening to kill. Photo / File
Russell Copland pleaded not guilty to a charge of threatening to kill. Photo / File

A farmer who claims that locals are trying to drive him out of his small West Coast community is now facing a threatening to kill charge.

Russell Copland, 62, claims to have been shot at, intimidated, had a child's pony shot, had cattle stolen, and death threats spray-painted over his farm property buildings since he moved from Southland to Milltown outside Hokitika around four years ago.

Soon after he moved his family to Milltown, he claims shots were fired at his property by disgruntled locals.

Police have investigated many of Copland's claims.

In 2013, his son's pet pony suffered a bullet wound to his leg and had to be put down.

At the time, father-of-three Copland blamed spotlighters.

In February this year, Copland claims he came across a woman taking greenstone from a river.

Copland claims the woman blocked him from entering his property and even pointed a gun at him.

But it's Copland who was charged by police.

He pleaded not guilty to a charge of threatening to kill and will face a judge-alone trial at Greymouth District Court on September 8.

Copland told The Press he moved his family away from the farm after finding a death threat daubed on a gateway last year.

"It says 'nark revenge prize death to kid'. I had enough. I made arrangements to get the family out," he told the newspaper.

"Our safety had been compromised."

- NZ Herald

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