A man was accidentally shot and killed at a Peaky Blinders fancy dress party in France after one guest brought a loaded rifle as part of his costume.
The party on New Year’s Eve ended in tragedy when one of the guests accidentally fired the hunting rifle, hitting Thomas Bernabé, aged 27, in the chest.
The party of former high school friends aged mainly in their late 20s was held at a remote house in Monbazillac in Dordogne, southern France.
The event’s fancy dress theme was based on the hit Netflix drama Peaky Blinders starring Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy. The series follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the direct aftermath of the First World War.
The man was shot by another guest, also aged 27, inside a garage while people were smoking outside, just hours before midnight. Emergency services were called to the party at about 9.30pm on New Year’s Eve and arrived to find the man had been shot in the chest. Paramedics were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man who fired the gun has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and faces up to five years behind bars. The hunting rifle belonged to his father, according to local media reports.
Police said several of the guests had brought guns with them to the fancy dress party. Police are treating the incident as an accidental shooting, according to local media reports.
Bergerac prosecutor Odile de Fritsch told AFP: ‘About 20 people born between 1991 and 1993, all former high school friends, gathered Thursday in an isolated house for a fancy dress party inspired by this British television series, which features gangsters in three-piece costumes and caps.
‘At around 9:30pm, a shot was fired from a weapon brought by a guest.’
Bernabé’ was an only child and the pain of his parents, who live in the small town of Saint-Nexans, has been described as ‘excruciating’.
The 27-year-old worked as a communications manager for CBO Group, which specialises in motorcycles, and his colleagues have paid tribute to him as a ‘jovial and generous person’, according to a report in local news outlet Le Petit Bleu.
According to the publication, four guns had been brought to the party and were being used to recreate Peaky Blinders scenes for a photoshoot.
The weapon that inflicted the fatal injury was reportedly thought not to have been loaded. It was old and had reportedly not been cleaned or used in a long time.