French hunter who shot and killed a British cyclist is jailed for a year 

A French hunter who accidentally shot and killed a Briton has been jailed for a year.

Marc Sutton, 34, and originally from Wales, was fatally shot with a rifle while cycling down a popular route high in the French Alps in 2018.

Lucas Clerc, a 24-year-old hunter, was sentenced on Tuesday after he admitted firing the fatal shot, which he said was intended for a wild boar.

Clerc was sentenced to a total of four years, three of them suspended, was banned from owning a gun for five years, and banned from hunting for ten. 

Hunter Lucas Clerc

Hunter Lucas Clerc

Cyclist Mark Sutton

Cyclist Mark Sutton

Lucas Clerc, 22, (left) gunned down Mark Sutton, 34, (right) believing he was an animal, and is still in hospital being treated for severe shock, according to his father Dominique.

A 24-year-old French hunter has been jailed for a year for fatally shooting Marc Sutton, 34, who was killed while cycling in the French Alps in 2018

A 24-year-old French hunter has been jailed for a year for fatally shooting Marc Sutton, 34, who was killed while cycling in the French Alps in 2018

A 24-year-old French hunter has been jailed for a year for fatally shooting Marc Sutton, 34, who was killed while cycling in the French Alps in 2018

He broke into tears as the sentence was handed down, according to French broadcasters France3

Two other hunters, the father of one of them who had been on the hunt, and that man’s wife, were also given suspended sentences of between six and 18 months for concealing evidence.

A court heard that they altered hunting logs to make it appear as if they had not been in the area at the time, and later put up signs warning of a hunt to make it appear as if they had taken safety precautions.

Mr Sutton had lived with partner Jo Watts in the Haute-Savoie region of France for four years before he was killed on October 13, 2018.

The couple were well-known locally as the owners of two restaurants, one of them vegetarian, and were well-liked by customers.

Around 6.50pm on the day in question, Marc was heading down a steep but popular cycling route near his home when he was struck and killed by a rifle bullet. 

An investigation found that Marc had been wearing high-visibility clothing and that visibility was good at the time he was shot.

Instead, investigators pointed to a litany of safety failings by the hunting party, including that they had failed to put up signs warning of a hunt in the area.

The largely inexperienced party had also failed to nominate a person to be in charge of the hunt, had not established a clear area for their hunt, had not completed the proper paperwork and were hunting within 500ft of homes, prosecutors said.

The hunter had said the rifle bullet which killed Mr Sutton (left, with his partner Jo Watts) was intended for a wild boar, but prosecutors pointed to a litany of safety failings

The hunter had said the rifle bullet which killed Mr Sutton (left, with his partner Jo Watts) was intended for a wild boar, but prosecutors pointed to a litany of safety failings

The hunter had said the rifle bullet which killed Mr Sutton (left, with his partner Jo Watts) was intended for a wild boar, but prosecutors pointed to a litany of safety failings

Mr Clerc's father, Dominique, said his son (pictured) shot Mr Sutton believing he was a deer

Mr Clerc's father, Dominique, said his son (pictured) shot Mr Sutton believing he was a deer

Mr Clerc’s father, Dominique, said his son (pictured) shot Mr Sutton believing he was a deer

The hunter owns a forestry business and regularly posts photos of himself hunting in the French Alps

The hunter owns a forestry business and regularly posts photos of himself hunting in the French Alps

He is pictured with an unknown friend

He is pictured with an unknown friend

The hunter (pictured left and right, with a unknown friend) owns a forestry business and regularly posts photos of himself hunting in the French Alps

Investigators added that the hunter, taking aim at a boar, had not angled the shot towards the ground as is required, but had instead fired straight.

That meant, when he missed the shot, the bullet was able to travel far enough to hit and kill Marc, who had unknowingly cycled into the line of fire.

Frédéric Noetinger-Berlioz, a lawyer for the victim’s family, described the hunters as ‘pathetic and pitiful’ and called the sentence ‘balanced… in the circumstances’.

He added that hunting had not been the cause of Mr Sutton’s death, but rather ‘delinquent hunters who observed no safety rules’.

At the time of his death, Miss Watts paid tribute to a ‘kind, happy, loving man’ saying they had shared nine happy years together.

He was also described by those living in the French Alpine community they called home as ‘well-liked’ and ‘popular’. 

Link hienalouca.com

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