Rape claims against French Alps shooting victim

image copyrightFacebook
image captionMarc Sutton owned a restaurant in the small town of Les Gets

The girlfriend and father of a man shot dead while cycling in the French Alps have defended him against rape claims.

Marc Sutton, 34, from Caerphilly, was mountain biking near Morzine when he was struck by a stray bullet understood to have been fired by a hunter.

Following tributes to him, his sister Katie Toghill told The Sun newspaper that he repeatedly raped, threatened and physically abused her as a child.

But other family members said they are devastated by the allegations.

His partner Jo Watts, 35, who ran Wild Beets Kitchen in Les Gets in the Alps, said: "Of course I'm shattered by his death, his life taken so violently by a hunter while he innocently rode his bike on a popular track.

"Now to add to all that I'm devastated people have chosen now to make these allegations - nothing to do with how he died - when Marc is not here to defend himself."

Mr Sutton was killed near Montriond, Haute Savoie, close to the Swiss border and his death on Saturday prompted the introduction of a temporary ban on hunting - known as "la chasse" in France.

The Sun also spoke to a former partner of Mr Sutton, who described him as a "psycho", and the paper reported he was jailed for six months for punching a girlfriend.

Ms Toghill, from Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent, who the newspaper reported had waived her anonymity as a sexual assault accuser, said he raped her about 100 times.

"He would take advantage of me in his bedroom while mum was downstairs," the 32-year-old added.

"He threatened that if I told anyone he would kill me, everyone would hate me, and no-one would believe me."

Their mother, Katrina, told the paper he did not deny the allegations when Ms Toghill shared them later in life.

But Mr Sutton's father, John Sutton, on Wednesday blamed a "family feud", adding: "I'm devastated they would try to blacken his name now that he's dead, it's hard enough to come to terms with how he died."

French prosecutors said Marc Sutton was cycling down a mountain in Montriond at about 18:00 on Saturday when he passed a group of hunters.

Reports said a 22-year-old man was taken to hospital with shock and was being investigated on suspicion of aggravated manslaughter.

More on this story