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Head of Black & Decker’s French Branch Slain in Lyon

From Times Wire Services

An unidentified gunman today shot and killed the director of a subsidiary of the U.S.-owned Black & Decker Manufacturing Co. on the doorstep of his home in suburban Lyon, police said.

Police identified the victim as Kenneth Marston, 43, a Briton, the head of Black & Decker France. He was shot once in the chest and once in the stomach, they said.

A neighbor was quoted as saying Marston’s wife and young daughter were with him immediately after the shooting. The daughter said she saw a masked person dressed in black.

Two news agencies later received calls claiming that Arab groups were responsible for the killing. In a call to a French news agency, a voice that apparently was recorded said: “We are a small Arab group. We claim responsibility for the attack this morning against the director of Black & Decker in reprisal for (inaudible) American.”

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In a call to a British news agency, the name of the group was inaudible except for the word “Arab.” The voice, also apparently recorded, said, “We will destroy all American and English imperialist interests in the world, wherever they are.”

Police said the 10-second phone calls contained no details of the killing that would prove that the group was responsible.

Marston had just come out of the front door of his hedge-surrounded house in the Ecully suburb of Lyon to go to the Black & Decker plant when the gunman opened fire with the shotgun, police said.

Marston collapsed on the front porch. His 10-year-old daughter told police that she saw a hooded man flee the scene.

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Marston was taken inside his house just after the 8 a.m. shooting because authorities determined that he was too gravely wounded to be moved to a hospital. He died two hours later.

Lay on Front Steps

Jacqueline Martin, a neighbor, said Marston lay on the front steps after the shooting with his wife and daughter crouched next to him.

“I was very surprised by the behavior of the little daughter. She was very calm and she said to me in perfect French ‘I want to stay here to tell the police that I saw someone in black with a hood leaving,’ ” Martin said.

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Marston, his wife and three children had lived in Lyon since May, 1984, when he became managing director of Black & Decker France, which has 1,100 employees.

British and American interests and citizens have been the target of actual or attempted attacks in recent days, in response to the April 15 U.S. bombing raid on Libya. Britain gave permission for the United States to use planes based in England for the raid.


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