British cyclist shot dead by hunter in France

Marc Sutton, 34, originally from Caerphilly, shot while mountain-biking in the Alps

A 34-year-old Briton has been shot dead by a hunter as he sped down a wooded track on a mountain bike in the French Alps, officials have said.

The victim, understood to be Marc Sutton from Caerphilly, was a restaurant owner who had been living for several years in the small resort town of Les Gets.

Sutton ran a private catering business in the area and opened his own restaurant, Wild Beets Kitchen, earlier this year.

He was shot on Saturday evening as a hunting party beat its way through woods near the ski resort of Montriond, according to a local prosecutor quoted by the Associated Press.

The victim was “perfectly identifiable” and was on a well-used but hard-to-access mountain track when he was shot by a 22-year-old hunter, who was taken to hospital in shock.

An inquiry has been launched for aggravated manslaughter, the prosecutor said.

A spokeswoman for the UK Foreign Office said: “We are in contact with the local authorities about the death of a British man in France, and we are providing assistance to his family.”

A local newspaper, Le Dauphiné Libéré, reported that the accident had happened at about 6pm on Saturday during a seven-man hunt organised by the local hunting association.

The victim reportedly died from a single gunshot wound. The man who shot him had not been arrested or charged. The public prosecutor, Philippe Toccanier from nearby Thonon-les-Bains, ordered local gendarmes to secure the scene and recover any available evidence.

The accident came barely two weeks after another young hunter in the region was sentenced to a year in jail for involuntarily killing a trail runner with a single bullet to the head, prompting widespread calls for tighter restrictions to be imposed on hunting in areas popular with the public.

While in steady decline, accidents are still frequent during the French hunting season. According to the national hunting and wildlife agency ONCFS, 115 people were injured in hunting accidents in the year to 1 June 2018. Thirteen died of their injuries, including three people who were not involved in a hunt.


Jamie Grierson and Jon Henley

The GuardianTramp

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