The controversial British photographer David Hamilton has been found dead at his home in Paris. He had been facing allegations that he raped children in France. However his alleged victims are now too old for a prosecution to have been brought.

Hamilton, 83, was known for taking soft-focus images of teenage girls and lived by himself in the French capital. He was found in what officials said was an “asphyxiated state” after police and paramedics attended his home. According to a statement: “They reached him soon after 10pm, and tried to revive him, but he died from a heart attack.”

Hamilton has been accused of the sexual assault of a number of girls in France. Among those who came forward was Flavie Flament, who waived her right to anonymity to speak out about what had happened to her. The 42-year-old Paris radio presenter said she was only 13 when she had been assaulted by Hamilton at a nudist camp in the South of France.

Shower

She said that the photographer persuaded her parents to let him work alone with her on the shoot, adding: “Very quickly his behavour altered. He raped me in the shower.”

Ms Flavie had been working along with three other women to bring Hamilton to justice. However, the women are now all in their 40s and 50s. The law in France dictates that the age limit for pressing charges with regard to the rape of a minor is 38.

However, Laurence Rossignol, who is France’s Minister for Families, Childhood and Women’s Rights, said that the law had been under review in order to bring France into line with the likes of Britain where are no limitations for sex crimes.

She said: “I would like to know how (prosecutions) happen elsewhere, so that we may also be able to change things in France.”