A mountain bike cyclist has been shot and killed by a hunter as he cycled through the French Alps. Marc Sutton, 34, is believed to have been killed instantly.
According to the Mirror, Sutton was speeding through thick woodland near Montriond in the fading light of October 13 when he was shot. The incident occurred sometime between 6 and 7 p.m. yesterday, and it is believed that the cyclist was “mistaken for a fast-moving animal” by the hunter. Sutton was struck by a single bullet and died at the scene.
The man responsible for the death is believed to be a “young hunter,” and has reportedly gone into “deep shock” after the incident. He is now being investigated for aggravated manslaughter. According to Al Jazeera, the hunter is aged 22-years-old and was taking part in a group hunt at the time of the incident. Thonon-Les-Bains prosecutor Philippe Toccanier revealed that the young hunter was taken to the hospital and treated for shock. As a result of this, he is yet to be taken into custody.
The Mirror states that a source involved with the investigation had the following to say about the tragic event.
“The shooter went into deep shock when he realized what he had done,” the source said. “He now faces trial and prison.”
Philippe Toccanier also states that Sutton “couldn’t be confused with game, as he had a colored helmet and a colored mountain bike,” at the time. However, in the early stages of the investigation, the incident is still be treated as an accident.
According to Sky News, Marc Sutton “had been cycling on a well-used but hard to access mountain track… was shot as a hunting party of up to 18 people made its way through woods near Montriond.” Since the incident, it has been reported that locals are insisting that the area be closed to hunters while the investigation continues.
Since the tragic event, friends and family of Marc Sutton have taken to social media in an outpouring of grief and tributes for his loss of life. In said tributes, Sutton has been referred to as a “nice chap,” and a “top lad” who was considered by others to be “living life to the full.”
Marc Sutton is believed to have been from Caerphilly in South Wales. However, he had lived in France for a number of years. Prior to his death, Sutton ran an eatery named the Wild Beets Kitchen in Les Gets, which is close to Morzine. He and his girlfriend ran the establishment, and it was believed to be very popular with the locals.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman issued the following statement to Sky News.
“We are in contact with local authorities about the death of a British man in France and we are providing assistance to his family.”