Reward offered in US murder case: Fiancee believes teacher's death in New Orleans followed refusal to give up present from father

POLICE in New Orleans have offered a reward of dollars 1,000 ( pounds 660) for information leading to the arrest of the killer of Adrian Strasser, a British tourist.

His fiancee, Margaret Reece, who is four months pregnant, flew home to Edinburgh yesterday after his murder in the French quarter, which is notorious for crime. She believes he was killed for the sake of his video camera.

Mr Strasser, 36, a jazz enthusiast, was bludgeoned to death on Friday night after leaving Ms Reece at their hotel after dinner to go for a walk. His body was found a mile away the following morning in a quiet, residential part of the quarter. A post-mortem examination showed he had three head wounds and had been bludgeoned to death by an unidentified instrument.

Ms Reece, a newspaper advertising executive, said Mr Strasser had been carrying a camcorder, a present from his father, when he went to visit bars in Bourbon Street. He had not taken much money with him.

She said: 'I think what happened is that he has either come out of a bar and turned the wrong way, and maybe it's been nightfall, or someone has lured him into a seedier part of town.

'I can only assume that someone has tried to get the camera from him once he went to that bad area - but because it was a present from his father and he had taken most of the video of us on holiday in San Francisco, he probably was reluctant to let it go. I think it has cost him his life. He talked to everyone when he went out. He liked people and was a very trusting person.' She said there had been no warning that New Orleans could be unsafe.

It emerged that passers-by had seen Mr Strasser in distress. One had given him a towel to staunch head wounds, but nobody had called the police. Officers who found the body said Mr Strasser's camcorder had been stolen, but his wallet and watch had not.

Mr Strasser was a primary school teacher at Tower Bank school in the Portobello district of Edinburgh.

Keith Betton, a spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents, issued advice for tourists visiting US cities: 'Find out which parts of the city are dangerous. The best person to get advice from is often the doorman of your hotel, or contact the local tourist authority or the police.

'It is best not to display wealth like an expensive watch. Don't carry lots of money. Take a camera with you by all means but don't be ostentatious.'

Mr Betton said victims of muggings should hand over valuables and not try to be heroes.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: 'The best advice is to avoid areas and situations where you might be at risk and if you are mugged, don't resist.'

Leading article, page 17

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