'special person' | 

Hunters facing trial over shooting of Morgan Keane near his French home

He had been chopping wood near his Calvignac home in south western France when he was killed by a bullet from a boar hunter in December 2020.

Morgan Keane was yet another victim of a hunt shooting

Locals remember their good friend Morgan Keane

Eamon DillonSunday World

Two men are facing trial after the son of an Irish man was shot dead near his French home.

Morgan Keane (25) had been chopping wood near his Calvignac home in south western France when he was killed by a bullet from a boar hunter in December 2020.

Two men — a hunter and the hunt organiser — are due to face a trial for manslaughter following a judicial investigation, the Cahors public prosecutor announced this week.

They are being prosecuted in a lower court because the charge is one of manslaughter, not murder, where they face a maximum three-year prison sentence, a €75,000 fine and a ban on possessing a weapon.

A lawyer for Morgan Keane’s younger brother Rowan, who was with him when he died, had challenged the prosecution case that it was a simple hunting accident.

Morgan’s tragic death sparked a campaign for tighter controls and better regulation around hunting in France, where it is reported that 20 people a year are killed in such accidents.

One of the campaigners, Mila Sanchez, who co-founded the group Un Jour Un Chasseur (One Day A Hunter), described Morgan as “a really good friend” to people.

“I know Morgan since I was three years old, basically he was my neighbour, a childhood friend,” she told the Sunday World.

Locals remember their good friend Morgan Keane

“He had a really difficult life. He was an orphan with his little brother when he died, to give you an idea.

“But despite that he was one of the most serene, super calm people. He was one of a kind.

“He was also a really talented musician, his dad was a musician, and painter. He was close to nature, he loved the house he was living in surrounded by nature.

“He didn’t have one job, if anyone needed anything, like to have a wall painted, doing some work on the house, he was always there doing things for others.”

“Morgan was a special person, he had friends from all ages.”

The shock of Morgan’s death spurred his friends into action to try to get the law changed on hunting in their region, but they soon realised it wasn’t just a local problem.

“We didn’t know it was a national issue,” said Mila.

“We wanted to change the law locally, so we started collecting testimony from people who were victims of hunters in Lot, the region where it happened.

“We set up an email address and we started receiving hunting problems from all over France and we discovered it was a national issue.”

Another family friend told The Connexion news outlet that Morgan, who had been reported as being a British ex-pat, was in fact French with an Irish father.

Lillian Bell said Morgan, known as Moggy to his friends, was her son’s best friend and that she had known him for a long time.

“He was the most darling, gentle, loving, philosophical person you can believe. He cared about everybody else.”

She said he had grown up in the area and gone to school with her son and that the only words of English he spoke were the ones she and her friends and family had taught him.

Both Morgan and his younger brother had remained living at their home following the deaths of their parents.

There were candlelit vigils to mark Morgan’s death in the days after the tragedy and also to mark his first anniversary.

The mayor of Cajarc, Jacques Viratelle, who was at a march alongside other local officials, said at the time: “We feel real pain today, for this young man who was so very kind and helpful.”

It was reported that 900 people attended one march in total silence around the town, some holding placards stating “hunting kills”, while others wore paper targets on their chests in protest.

More than 122,000 people signed a petition on the French Senate website which resulted in a parliamentary inquiry into the issue.

However, the report, which was eventually published earlier this month, left the campaigners disappointed.

The campaign is expected to continue with the issue of hunting controls gaining political attention across France with more accidents being highlighted.

Morgan’s brother will be a civil party to the case against the two men when it reaches court in November.

His lawyer, Benoît Coussy, said in a press release last June that “the hunters have continued to hunt since the homicide around Rowan’s house”.

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