A FARMER has died after being accidentally shot in the leg outside his home, it emerged yesterday.
ADAM Hepburn, 22, was in a vehicle outside his family’s farmhouse in the Borders when the rifle went off as it was being handed over. A high-velocity bullet passed through the father-of-one’s left thigh, severing the femoral artery.
A second man who was in the Freelander 4x4 alerted the emergency services at around 11:45pm on Tuesday and drove Mr Hepburn ten miles to the Hawick Cottage Hospital which does not have an accident and emergency department.
The Scottish Ambulance Service attended at the hospital to administer CPR to Mr Hepburn who was unconscious following heavy bleeding.
The patient was then transferred to Borders General Hospital 20 miles away where he died in the early hours of the yesterday morning.
Police said that an investigation was under way into the shooting incident and that inquiries were still at an early stage. It is understood there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Forensic officers carried out a detailed examination of the 4x4 vehicle which was still parked outside Hawick Cottage Hospital yesterday morning. It was removed later in the day.
Last night a family friend said: “It was just a tragic accident. From what I was told Adam was out shooting rabbits. It seems the gun was being passed over in the vehicle and it has gone off, hitting Adam in the leg.
“They couldn’t stop the bleeding and he was driven to hospital. Everyone is devastated. They are a very close-knit family.”
Mr Hepburn – who has two brothers John, 27, and 21-year-old Gregor – belonged to a well-known Borders farming family and Northhouse Farm, part of the Buccleuch Estate, hosted the Scotsheep event in 2008.
He was a keen rugby player, who played for Hawick Wanderers and Hawick Quins, but was also kept busy on the family-run farm. Yesterday, his parents Ian and Katherine were unavailable for comment at the 2,000-acre sheep and cattle farm.
A relative who answered the door at the farmhouse said: “We do not want to comment on what happened last night.”
A police spokesman said: “Police are investigating the death of a 22-year-old man who died from wounds sustained as a result of a firearms discharge.
Inquiries are at an early stage.”
Last night, messages of condolence were posted on social media sites.
A Twitter user from Hawick wrote: “RIP Adam Hepburn. I’ve known you since I was little – I know you will be sorely missed.”
A message that Adam himself posted on Facebook in March 2011 showed that he and his brother Gregor went out shooting foxes.
One technique, called “lamping”, carried out at night, involves dazzling the animals with bright lights, although it is not known if Adam had been doing that when he was shot.