Stark warnings have been issued over the dangers of ‘lamping’ after a man was killed in a tragic accident in Styrrup.
Ross Staples, 25, Gildingwells, was out with three friends hunting rabbits with flashlights in the early hours of 13th September last year, Notts Coroners Court heard this week.
But the night took a horrific turn when their Subaru Forester car they were travelling in overturned - leaving Mr Staples with fatal head injuries.
Det Sgt James Greely of Notts Police’s Crash Investigation Unit said anyone taking part in lamping (night shooting) was putting their life at risk.
“It’s a very dangerous activity and it has clearly resulted in a tragic accident in which someone has lost their life,” he said after the inquest.
“Even with the permission of the landowner, it’s not an activity in which people should be engaging. It’s dangerous, anti-social and has a significant cost impact for the landowner.”
The court heard Mr Staples had met up with friends Liam Cruikshank, Robert Milner and Jamie Proctor to go rabbitting with three dogs in a field next to White Water Lane in Styrrup.
Mr Proctor was driving the Subaru Forester around the field around 10-15 mph when it hit uneven ground and tipped over.
Coroner Miss Mairin Casey said Ross had been half-sitting and half-standing through the sun roof with his head out and pointing the flashlight when the car overturned.
His friends took him straight to his parents’ home nearby but he was later taken to Bassetlaw Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The court heard how Mr Staples had sustained serious head injuries and had been rendered unconscious almost immediately.
Reading evidence from landowner Paul Thackeray, Miss Casey said the group of four men had not sought permission from him before using the field.
Mr Thackeray added that lamping was anti-social and had the potential to destroy crops and grassland as well as disturbing wildlife and alarming animals.
The court also heard advice from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation that landowners must give prior approval and for those taking part to familiarise themselves with the terrain during daylight hours.
Summing up, Miss Casey recorded a verdict of accidental death and said there were lessons to be learnt.
“The activity is not illegal but it is very risky and resulted in a situation like this, so I need to voice how important it is that if people are going to do this, the need to be mindful of the advice given by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation,” she said.
“The combination of taking too sharp curves in the vehicle with the rough surface of the field resulted in this tragic accident and my sincere apologies go out to Mr Staple’s family and friends.”
Mr Staples’ parents were also at the inquest, along with his girlfriend Sophie Hall. She gave birth to their first child shortly after his death last September and named the baby after him. The family declined to comment after the inquest.