Stepfather tried to save boy who was shot on night hunt

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The Independent Online

A schoolboy who was shot and killed while hunting foxes was named yesterday.

Byron Evans, 13, was with a shooting party in the steep-sloping farmland around the village of Harberton in Devon on Saturday night. The three adults and three teenagers had been using lamps to spot and startle their prey on Lower Cholwell Farm when it is understood one of them mistook Byron for a fox and fired.

Members of the hunting party, including his stepfather, and paramedics fought to save the boy - a friend of the landowner's grandson - but he died from a single gunshot wound after being airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

Yesterday, a resident said it was hard to imagine how the person who shot the youngster would cope with the pain of such a "dreadful thing". Harberton parish council chairman, John Hockings, said he was baffled: "I can't understand it. Efficient, professional lampers would be able to tell by the different colour of the eyes. They would not make a mistake and shoot a human being. Sometimes you will see the silhouette of the animal in the light too. There is always an element of risk involved where guns are concerned. It's sad."

A police spokesman said that while everyone in the party was being interviewed and the .22 rifles had been seized for examination, there had been no arrests. "Our initial inquiries suggest it was a tragic accident," a police spokesman said.

A post-mortem examination has been made and the matter passed to the Greater Devon coroner, Dr Elizabeth Earland, who will open an inquest this week.