'He's going to go to hell' says woman sexually abused by Gloriavale leader Hopeful Christian in the '80s

The death of controversial Gloriavale leader Hopeful Christian is drawing mixed reaction from those who knew him.

While the West Coast commune mourns his loss, others have taken the opportunity to speak out against him. 

The closed community closed ranks even further on what's believed to be the day of their leaders' funeral, just one day after 92-year-old Hopeful Christian is reported to have died.

For some, his death has simply brought relief. He sexually abused Yvette Olsen in the 1980s.

Sunday’s Jehan Casinader interviewed the religious leader before he died, and says the community will adapt to go on without him. Source: Breakfast

"His destruction of my life is finally over," Ms Olsen said from Australia today.

"He's going to be before God and he's got to answer for every one of those people whose lives he destroyed. And then he's going to go to hell," she said.

He founded the Cooperites in North Canterbury in the 1960s, when the Australian evangelist was known as Neville Cooper. 

"It's been firm, tight even grim control from the inside that's the mark of this community," Peter Lineham, religious historian said today.

Christian was convicted of sex offences in the 1990s and jailed for 10 months. But his following remained loyal, moving to the West Coast to build Gloriavale which now has 500 members.

The controversial religious leader died today after a battle with cancer. Source: Sunday

But will their leaders' death bring about the demise of the community he built?

"I think it would go against the ethos of the community that anyone would take the place of the person they revere as their prophet and founder," Mr Lineham said.

In 2007 Christian granted TVNZ's Sunday programme his first ever television interview.

"The moment I started questioning him, challenging his principles and values and his history, he was very defensive. He was squirming," Sunday correspondent Janet McIntyre said today.

While the West Coast commune mourns his death at 92, others have taken the opportunity to speak out against him. Source: 1 NEWS