Tuesday 12 December 2017

Man killed in drunken brawl over price of drinks at a French Riviera lap-dancing club

Katie Hodge

A British trade delegate was killed in a drunken brawl over the cost of drinks at a lap-dancing club on the French Riviera, local police said today.

Lee Elton Fischer, 37, is understood to have sparked a fight in the belief that he had been "ripped off" during a night out with colleagues.

Mr Fischer, from London, died on the road outside the night-spot in the exclusive resort of Cannes after he was punched in the face in the early hours of Monday morning.

Three French men between the ages of 25 and 30 were today being questioned by detectives on suspicion of a crime akin to manslaughter.

Officers investigating his death said Mr Fischer and three friends had visited a bar after leaving an exhibition being organised by the Tax Free World Association.

After five or six pints they arrived at the lap-dancing club but Mr Fischer left after just one drink, apparently outraged by the price.

"He felt it was expensive, that's what upset the victim," a police source said.

"He believed he had been ripped off so he left the bar.

"Outside he saw a guy who was handing out fliers for another lap-dancing club.

"He was very angry so he started to shout at the man."

Moments later a fight ensued and friends of both men came to their aid.

At around 3.30am, Mr Fischer - who is understood to be married - was dealt a blow to the head. He fell to the ground and died at the scene.

Mr Fischer was killed on the first day of the duty free and travel retail exhibition, where he had been manning a stand for the UK-based design consultancy company Lea International.

Local police said he left the event at the end of the day to return to his hotel for a shower before going out "for some beers".

In the early hours of the morning, the group found themselves at the lap-dancing venue but shortly after arriving, Mr Fischer stormed out to vent his fury on the club promoter.

A row broke out between the two and descended into physical violence.

"People came over to help the man and Mr Fischer found himself facing several individuals," the police source said.

"His own friends came over but two of them were also attacked. One was punched in the nose and the other, on the mouth. They were chased off.

"After that, the situation appeared to calm down but suddenly Mr Fischer was punched in the face. He fell to the ground, unconscious."

A post-mortem examination will be carried out on Thursday to establish the precise cause of death.

A prosecutor from nearby Grasse has opened an investigation.

The three Frenchmen were due to appear in court this afternoon when a judge is expected to decide whether they should be held in custody as an investigation is carried out.

If they stand trial and are subsequently convicted, they could face up to 15 years in jail, police said.

A spokesman for the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) said: "The board, management committee and staff of TFWA wish to convey their sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Fischer at this very difficult time."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Cannes on September 18.

"Next of kin are aware and we are providing consular assistance."

More than 5,000 delegates are expected to attend the trade show which runs until Friday.

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