Remorseful Edgerton in court for causing death

Last updated 05:00 07/05/2014
Wayne Edgerton
SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ
DEVASTATED: Wayne Edgerton has been charged after shooting fellow hunter Adam Hill.

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On a Sunday morning, Adam Hill and his friend left a camp in the Longwood Range for a day's deer stalking.

By lunch time he was dead.

Yesterday, Tuatapere man Wayne Edgerton admitted causing his death.

Backed by supporters in the public gallery, Edgerton, 56, appeared in the Invercargill District Court before Judge Christina Cook and admitted one charge of carelessly using a 30.06 rifle, causing Adam Hill's death on April 13.

The judge asked for a full pre-sentence report and remanded him on bail until June 24 for sentence.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Denise Harvey told the packed courtroom that the 25-year-old farmer and his companion had left a camp in the Longwoods on April 13 for a day's deerstalking.

They were both wearing fluoro hunting vests - commonly used by hunters to make themselves highly visible in the bush.

April was the month commonly referred to in the hunting community as "The Roar", when stags became active for the mating season, she said.

Hill and his friend were in an area known as Pole Beach Ridge, stalking what they believed to be a stag about 11am.

Hill's companion spotted two human faces in the bush and heard a shot, causing him to take evasive action. He then saw Hill slumped over some ferns.

He yelled to the other party they had shot his mate and was joined by the three members of Edgerton's hunting party, she said.

One of the group tried first aid but it was quickly established that Hill was dead, she said. Edgerton and one of his group walked out of the bush to alert police while another person stayed with Hill, she said.

A police investigation was launched and Hill's body was recovered by helicopter later in the day.

An autopsy on April 14 confirmed Hill had suffered massive internal injuries after being struck in the chest with a 30.06-calibre bullet.

The fatal shot was fired from 40.78m away, Harvey said.

There was a scope on the rifle.

Edgerton told police, when spoken to on April 24, that he had taken some time looking at what he thought was a deer.

He had used the naked eye and also the scope on the rifle before firing but agreed he had not correctly identified his target.

He had broken the cardinal rule of hunting and was careless, Harvey said.

Edgerton was "very remorseful" for his actions, she said.

He did not wish to comment when approached after his court appearance yesteday.

Hill's family also declined to comment.

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- The Timaru Herald

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