British man shot dead by hunter in French Alps

Marc Sutton, who ran a restaurant in Les Gets, near Morzine, is said to have been riding a mountain bike through thick woods when he was shot

Up to 18 hunters failed to notice the cyclist, who was said to be wearing bright clothes at the time of the shooting
Up to 18 hunters failed to notice the cyclist, who was said to be wearing bright clothes at the time of the shooting

A British restaurant owner has been shot dead by a hunter in the French Alps.

The 34-year-old, named locally as Marc Sutton, was riding a mountain bike when he was shot on Saturday evening.

The keen snowboarder and mountain biker, originally from Caerphilly, south Wales, ran a private catering business in the area and opened his own restaurant, Wild Beets Kitchen, earlier this year in Les Gets, close to Morzine.

In a Facebook post, he said of the restaurant: “I still can’t believe that this is ours! Hard work does pay off and dreams do come true.”

The hunter, a 22-year-old man, was treated for shock after the incident.

“He is thought to have died instantly after being hit by a bullet fired by a 22-year-old hunter,” a source said.

Marc Sutton, originally from Caerphilly, south Wales, died after he was hit by a hunter's bullet while riding his mountain bike in woodland near Montriond, France

“The accident happened on Saturday evening in thick woods close to the ski resort of Montriond, at about 6pm.

“The shooter went into deep shock when he realised what he had done.

“He now faces trial and prison.”

Prosecutors in Thonon have opened an inquiry into “aggravated manslaughter”, and a full investigation is in progress into what officials reportedly believe was an accident.

The killer faces prison if found guilty of the charge, a judicial source confirmed.

Mr Sutton opened a restaurant in the small ski resort of Les Gets earlier this year (Getty/iStock)

The incident is the latest in a serious of shooting tragedies involving innocent passersby being killed or severely wounded during France’s hunting season, which started last month.

On this occasion up to 18 hunters were taking part, but failed to notice the rider, who was said to be wearing bright clothes.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are in contact with local authorities about the death of a British man in France and stand ready to provide assistance to his family.”

Last year a 59-year-old hiker died instantly when he was blasted to death by a wild boar hunter while out walking close to the village of Taulignan, in the Drome department.

It happened during the first few days of the season, which also claimed the life a 13-year-old boy, who was mistakenly shot dead by his grandfather with a shotgun.

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In October 2017, a woman sitting in her garden was also killed after a stray hunter’s bullet passed through her garden hedge.

In 2016, there were 18 deaths caused by hunting accidents in France as well as a number of injuries.

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