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Murder Not Guilty Verdict `Stuns' Victim's Father

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Tauranga, Feb 17 NZPA - When Opotiki man Peter Collier heard yesterday the farmer who shot his son dead had been acquitted of murder and manslaughter, he was stunned.

"How do you call it self defence when the person (killed) was sitting in his vehicle, unarmed?" the 65-year-old father of seven wondered today.

David Allen, 45, forest and farm block manager from the isolated Takaputahi Valley, 40km southeast of Opotiki, walked free from the High Court at Hamilton yesterday after being cleared of the murder and manslaughter of Boxer Muni Rangi Sam Collier.

The jury believed Mr Allen when he said he shot Mr Collier in self-defence following a confrontation over a disputed debt.

Peter Collier said he knew Mr Allen, who had been a "good mate" of his son.

"That's why we couldn't believe it."

Mr Allen had provided tree pruning work for his grandson and two other teenagers, Mr Collier said.

"I asked Boxer to look after them and make sure they didn't get up to any mischief."

When the teenagers started "coming home for kai" he found out they had not been paid.

"I said get back out there and make sure you work. One day he will pay you. But it got a bit long," said Mr Collier, explaining why the young men eventually left the job.

Mr Collier, whose wife died about a year before their son's shooting, sat in court for one day last week at the beginning of the murder trial and did not return.

"It was awful to go and hear all that."

Although the dead man was referred to in court documents as Muni Rangi Sam Collier, officially his name was Boxer, Mr Collier said.

"I called him that when he was a little fella -- a newborn -- because of the way he held up his tiny fists. I said he was going to be our boxer," Mr Collier said.

Asked if Boxer had lived up to his moniker, Mr Collier told NZPA: "I wouldn't say he was violent but he would stand up for his rights".

"To me he wasn't a bad fella. He would come out here and help me all the time and was really a family man."

Boxer was not a Mongrel Mob member or associate, as the court was told, he said.

Although another of his sons was in the gang, he had been sick for four years.

Neither he nor the Mongrel Mob had any part in the violence or intimidation alleged by Mr Allen, Mr Collier said.

Boxer never got to see the youngest of his four children, who was born after the shooting.

"I try to help as much as I can."

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