A French hunter who accidentally shot and killed a British restaurateur while cycling through the French Alps has been imprisoned.
Marc Sutton, 34, who is originally from Caerphilly, Wales, was hit by bullet fire by the 24-year-old while cycling a popular route high in the Alps in October 2018.
The hunter, who has not been identified, admitted firing the deadly shot, which he said was intended for a wild boar.
He was jailed for a total of four years, but since three of them have been suspended, he will be imprisoned for a year.
The hunter is also not allowed to own a weapon for five years and hunt for ten years.
According to French broadcasters France 3the hunter broke down in tears when the sentence was handed down.
Two other hunters, the father of one who had been hunting and the wife of that man, were all given suspended sentences of six to 18 months for concealing evidence.
A court heard they had changed hunting logs to make it look like they hadn’t been in the area at the time.
They also put up post-shooting signs warning of a hunt to make it look like they had taken safety precautions.
Mr. Sutton lived in the Haute-Savoie region of France for four years with his partner Jo Watts.
The couple owned two restaurants, one of which was vegetarian, and were loved by customers and known by the locals.
After Mr. Sutton’s death, tributes poured in for “nice guy” Marc on social media, with a shocked friend saying he was a “top guy” who exemplified “living life to the fullest”.
Miss Watts paid tribute to a “kind, happy, loving man” who said they had nine happy years together.
Sutton was on a steep but popular cycle route near his home when he was shot and killed by a rifle bullet at around 6:50 PM.
Research showed that he was wearing high visibility clothing and that visibility was good at the time.
Investigators blamed a catalog of security concerns for the “largely inexperienced” hunt, including the failure to provide warning signs for a hunt in the area.
Prosecutors said the party had also failed to designate a person in charge of the hunt, did not establish a clear area for their hunt, hunted within 150 yards of houses, and failed to fill out the correct paperwork.
The Mirror needs your help to save Christmas for thousands of children in the UK.
We are raising money for Save the Children UK so that it can buy gifts for some of the country’s most vulnerable children and offer Christmas meals to families with problems.
Every cent you donate to our Save a Kid’s Christmas call will make a difference.
It could mean that a child will go or pay less without a warm Christmas meal for the one gift they get to see.
Or it can help buy books and learning packs for children who are at risk of falling behind in school.
- Call: 0800 8148148
- Visit: www.savethechildren.org.uk/mirror
- Text MIRROR5 TO 70008 to donate £ 5 or MIRROR10 TO 70008 to donate £ 10
- Send a check to Save the kids UK to reply message Daily Mirror Christmas Appeal 2020, Save the Children, 1 St John’s Lane, London, EC1M 4AR. The Save the Children Fund is a charity registered in England and Wales (213890), Scotland (SC039570) and IOM (199)
Investigators added that the hunter did not aim the shot toward the ground as required, but instead fired straight.
This led to tragedy because when he missed the shot, the bullet could travel far enough to hit Mr. Sutton, who had unknowingly cycled into the fatal firing line.
Frédéric Noetinger-Berlioz, lawyer for Mr Sutton’s family, described the hunters as “pathetic and pathetic” and called the phrase “balanced … in the circumstances”.
He added that Sutton’s death was not caused by hunting, but by “delinquent hunters who did not obey the safety rules.”