Home detention for accidentally killing hunter

Last updated 16:58 24/06/2014
NEIL RATLEY/Southland Times

Family and friends of Adam Hill were wearing fluorescent hunting gear outside the Invercargill District Court ahead of the sentencing of Tuatapere man Wayne Edgerton today.

Wayne Edgerton
SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ
DEVASTATED: Wayne Edgerton was sentenced to seven months' home detention, 400 hours' community work and ordered to pay $10,000 emotional harm reparation.
Adam Hill
PROUD DAD: Adam Hill, pictured with daughter Maikayla, 4, had moved into a farmhouse with his family a year before being fatally shot while hunting.
Wayne Edgerton
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/ Fairfax NZ
CONVICTED: Wayne Edgerton was sentenced to seven months' home detention.

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A well-known gun-safety advocate who shot and killed a fellow hunter has been sentenced to home detention.

Wayne Edgerton appeared before Judge Michael Turner this afternoon in the Invercargill District Court after admitting the charge of carelessly using a 30.06 rifle, causing Adam Hill's death on April 13.

He was sentenced to seven months' home detention, 400 hours' community work, ordered to pay $10,000 emotional harm reparation to Adam Hill's partner and an order was made for the forfeiture of Edgerton's firearm.

The gallery was packed with people, some wearing fluorescent gear.

''This is to show what Adam was wearing before he was shot,'' Adam's father Dave Hill said before the sentencing.

Edgerton, a hunter and artist from Tuatapere, mistook 25-year-old Adam Hill for a deer and shot him while hunting in the Longwoods in Southland, despite Hill wearing a fluro vest.

''Do we look like deer?'' Dave Hill asked before the sentencing began.

Stephen Sycamore, Adam's cousin, was standing next to Adam when he was shot in the chest.

''We identified ourselves. We were wearing high visibility clothing,'' he said.

Adam Hill's family and friends wanted to make the point he was doing the right thing and following the rules.

They also said they wanted justice for what happened not a ''slap on the wrist''.

Hill, 25, with his partner Christine Pink, and their daughters Shikana and Maikayla, had moved to their farming post in Wairio a year before the shooting.  He had been promoted to an $80,000-a-year job, with a farmhouse as part of the package, looking after 1800 cows on three properties.

Pink must now raise the girls by herself and had to leave the farmhouse in Wairio on the property where Hill worked.

"I was absolutely devastated by having to move out of that house," she told the Sunday Star-Times in May.

She first met Hill when they were students at Central Southland College in Winton. After school days they met up again, and soon became inseparable.

She described him as a hardworking, fun-loving man who worked on dairy farms and as a tree-pruner in Invercargill with older brothers Roger and Tim.

Hill's father, Dave Hill, was out hunting with his son and several others at the family's bush camp that fateful weekend when his son, who was also his best mate, was taken from him.

"My boy was such an awesome, awesome guy who was such a treasure in so many people's hearts," Dave Hill told the Southland Times three days after his son's death.

Edgerton has declined to comment since the shooting but Western Southland Deerstalkers' Association member Syd Crombie visited him after the incident and said he was devastated.

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"This thing has really hit him and I don't think he will bounce back to being the good and jovial bloke he once was."

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