A man hunting rabbits with his pal was shot dead in a freak accident when his friend tripped over and fell on the gun, police revealed today.
The victim, aged 30, was fatally injured in fields at 9.30pm on Friday night.
He was walking through an open gate yards in front of his friend who stumbled over and fell on the gun causing it to go off.
Despite running to a nearby house and the homeowner dialling 999 paramedics were unable to save the man who died at the scene near Brockton, Shrops.
Local residents said the friends, who are both from Lichfield, Staffs., were out rabbit hunting with the permission of the farmer who owned the land.
Julia Parker, who lives in nearby Bishop’s Castle, said: “It is terribly tragic.
“It sounds like two friends in their early 30s and from Lichfield who regularly came to shoot rabbits in this area each year were out at about 9.30pm when one accidentally shot the other.
“The one then ran for help and first found a house down a dirt track where nobody was in and then carried on running before finding a second house where he managed to call the emergency services.
“I believe the police and ambulance were all in attendance a short time after including the police helicopter, but I hear there was nothing they could do.
“It is terribly sad and I remember something similar happening not far away from here many years ago.”
Organised hunting trips to the farmland take place three or four times a year and commonly attract rabbit hunters from across the West Midlands.
West Mercia Police have not made any arrests and are treating the death as a tragic accident.
Inspector Andrew Smith, from West Mercia Police, said: “We have limited information at the moment but we did deal with an incident out at Brockton on Friday (5/4) where a man received gunshot wounds.
“At this stage, as far as we can ascertain, it appears to have been a tragic accident but inquiries are continuing.”
A force spokesman added: “Police in Shropshire are investigating an incident in which a 30-year-old man died from a gunshot wound.
“The incident, which appears to be a tragic accident happened at around 9.30pm on Friday in a field at Brockton, Lydbury North, near Bishop’s Castle.
“The man, who is thought to have been rabbiting, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“He is yet to be formally identified but is thought to come from Staffordshire.”
Shropshire coroner John Ellery has been informed and a post mortem is expected to be carried out on Tuesday.