Hunter who killed Franco-British man as he chopped wood faces trial in France

A hunter and a hunt organiser are due in court in southwest France accused of manslaughter following the fatal shooting of Anglo-French man Morgan Keane in the Lot département.

Hunter who killed Franco-British man as he chopped wood faces trial in France
The death of Morgan Keane sparked an outcry (Photo by Valentine CHAPUIS / AFP)

Keane was hit in the chest by a bullet from a boar hunter in December 2020 while chopping wood near his home in the village of Calvignac, nearly two hours north of Toulouse.

Hunter Julien Féral – who had a valid gun permit and had recently obtained a hunting licence – faces a maximum three-year prison sentence, a €75,000 fine and a ban on possessing a weapon, if found guilty by the court in Cahors. Hunt organiser Laurent Lapergue, 51, also faces a manslaughter charge.

It is rare in France for the organiser of a hunt to face court over incidents of mistaken shootings.

He reportedly told police that he was not familiar with the area in which the hunt was taking place. He said he had just fired at a boar, and then shot again when he spotted movement, assuming it was the animal.

Keane’s death sparked a campaign for tighter controls of hunting in France.

READ ALSO ‘We are treated like assassins’: Could hunters in France face alcohol ban?

The 25-year-old and his younger brother were living in the nearby house of their late parents when he was shot. 

In the 2021-22 hunting season, the Office français de biodiversité recorded a total of 90 hunting accidents in which people were injured as a result of a hunting weapon being discharged, including eight fatalities – one of them Keane.

In another story involving hunting that made headlines in France this week a father said he was beaten up by hunters who he accused of coming to close to his garden.

Xavier Gourgues, posted images of his injured face and his account of what happened on Facebook.

He said he confronted the group of hunters near his home near the village of Lussac in the Gironde region of south western France.

He said he was gardening with his son and wife when he heard whistles and shots ring out. He confronted the hunters and claimed around 10 of them attacked him and broke his telephone.

A police investigation is underway.


Member comments

  1. There should be a ban on shooting of any sort except on specified shooting ranges within 2 kilometres of any habitation.
    I quite often pass notices on the road informing me that there is a hunt in progress. This is admittance that hunting is dangerous to passers by. And exactly what is one supposed to do? Change course? Change plans? just to suit a gang of hunters who are now interfering with my right to use public thoroughfares.

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French billionaire Bernard Arnault probed over Courchevel money laundering

French billionaire Bernard Arnault and Russian oligarch Nikolai Sarkisov are under investigation for alleged money laundering at a luxury Alpine resort, according to Paris prosecutors.

French billionaire Bernard Arnault probed over Courchevel money laundering

The probe concerns their activities in Courchevel, a ski resort in the French Alps known for being a playground for the ultra-rich, they said late on Thursday.

The French economy ministry’s financial intelligence unit is leading the investigation, but has yet to determine whether any crime had been committed, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

French daily Le Monde, citing the Tracfin financial intelligence unit, reported that the 55-year old Russian billionaire had acquired 14 housing units from a single seller in 2018 for €16 million in a complex deal involving companies based in France, Luxembourg and Cyprus.

Although he is believed to be the buyer, Sarkisov’s name appears nowhere on the books of the company carrying out the purchase.

The company, called La Fleche, is believed to have bought three more real estate units from a second company which, it turns out, also belonged to Sarkisov.

The sale of the real estate to himself allowed the Russian to pocket a capital gain of €1.2 million, according to the paper.

Arnault — who runs luxury empire LVMH and is the world’s second-richest person after Elon Musk according to Forbes — is suspected of lending €18.3 million euros to Sarkisov for the deal.

He is then believed to have acquired La Fleche, effectively becoming the owner of the real estate portfolio.

The ownership change could have been designed “to hide the exact origin of the funds”, Le Monde quoted a Tracfin document as saying, as well as the identity of the “ultimate beneficiary”.

Investigators believe Sarkisov made two million euros from the operation, but they were still in the dark how much he had paid for the loan.

Contacted by AFP, LVMH declined to comment.

Le Monde, however, quoted a spokesman as saying that the operation had been “carried out with the strictest observance of the law”.

The paper also cited people close to Sarkisov as saying that the capital gain was “just a few hundred of thousands of euros”, and that the Russian had not been involved personally.

Le Monde said that according to “family lore”, Arnault has a special connection to Courchevel because he learned to ski there as a child and where he owns a mansion and a luxury hotel.

Hotel prices in the resort can reach several tens of thousands of euros per night, the paper noted.