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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Sadomasochistic bondage session
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 28, 2005
Date of arrest: 2 weeks later
Date of birth: 1964
Victim profile: douard Stern, 50 (her billionaire French banker lover)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Status: Pleaded guilty. Sentenced to eight years and six months in prison on June 18, 2009. Released on parole in November 2010

photo gallery


Vanity Fair - July 2005


The Man in the Latex Suit (2.6 Mb)


douard Stern (October 18, 1954 - February 28, 2005) was a French banker. Born in Paris, he was son of the banker Antoine Jean Elie Stern and Christiane Laroche, and was a personal friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Relatively unknown outside finance circles until his death, Stern shot to worldwide fame when he was found shot dead in his apartment in Geneva, Switzerland, after a sadomasochistic bondage session wearing a head-to-toe latex catsuit.


douard Stern was 38th in a list of France's richest citizens. He was born in 1954 to one of Frances wealthiest families, the owners of a private investment house called Banque Stern, and was known for his abrasive personality.

He studied at the Ecole Suprieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales in Paris. Together with his uncle, his ousted his father at Banque Stern and then sold the family bank. He then became a partner at Lazard Frres before creating his own investment fund, IRR Capital (the initials stand for "Investments Real Return").

In 2004 he was part of a suit brought against the French company Rhodia, accusing the company of false accounting and other malfeasance.

He was married to Batrice David-Weil, who lived in New York with their three children. Batrice David-Weil is a daughter of Michel David-Weill and a granddaughter of Pierre David-Weill, who were both partners in Lazard Frres.


douard Stern was found shot to death on March 1, 2005 in Geneva. His body was found in his bedroom, clothed in a flesh-coloured head-to-toe latex catsuit with a dildo inserted in him, and shot four times; police initially thought the latex body suit may have been a ruse by the murderers to confuse the police, but it later became clear that Stern had been involved in a sadomasochistic bondage session.

Swiss authorities arrested his long-time lover, Ccile Brossard, over the killing. Society columnist Taki Theodoracopulos has reported in The Spectator that Stern, in addition to having many girlfriends, was bisexual and had a boyfriend, and that he was a "rough trade" sex connoisseur.

Brossard, 40, was convicted and on June 18, 2009 was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison. In addition, the Swiss court ordered Brossard to pay Stern's children one Swiss franc for "moral damage". The Wall Street Journal has reported that "[Stern's] family hopes people will stop talking about the case". Ccile Brossard was freed on parole in November 2010, after spending five years in detention (including four years while awaiting trial).


The French film "Une Histoire d'Amour''. (titled in English 'Tied') is a direct telling of the story, although the ending there could imply death by dehydration during the Mistress' long plane flight rather than by (a blank) gunshot. The story of douard Stern is cited as the inspiration for Olivier Assayas' 2008 film Boarding Gate. The death of douard Stern was directly parodied on the FX animated series Archer in the third season episode "Lo Scandalo".


Call girl jailed for eight years after shooting dead billionaire who called her a whore

By Ian Sparks -

June 19, 2009

A former prostitute who shot dead her billionaire lover after he called her a 'whore' during a bondage session has been jailed for eight-and-a-half years.

Cecile Brossard shot banker Edouard Stern four times while he was tied to a chair wearing a latex bodysuit.

A court ruled that she acted out of hatred and greed, and convicted her of murder rather than the lesser 'crime of passion'.

The lovers had previously fallen out after Mr Stern took back $1million he had given her as a gift.

Moments before he died, the 50-year-old taunted her with the words: 'A million dollars is a lot to pay for a whore.'

Mr Stern came from a centuries-old French banking dynasty and was one of the country's richest men. The father of three was a friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Lawyers described his four-year affair with Brossard as 'passionate, and full of emotional blackmail'.

His secret life of sadomasochistic sex was only exposed after he was killed with his own gun at his penthouse flat in Geneva in February 2005.

The high court in Geneva heard that Brossard, 40, cleaned up the crime scene and threw the weapon into a lake before fleeing to Italy and then Australia.

Just ten days later, she asked Mr Stern's children to return the $1million, which the prosecution described as an act of 'incredibly duplicity'.

Brossard, who is French, told the court: 'On the night it happened, I felt an explosion in my head and took a gun he kept in his bedside drawer.

'I pointed the weapon at his face and fired the first shot. The gun must have been six inches from his face. I think I hit him between the eyes. He got up, turned half way round and fell. I fired another round at his head.'

Mr Stern was then hit twice more in the torso.

Brossard begged forgiveness and said: 'It was a moment of passion and madness. I did not intend for him to die.'

Lawyers alleged Brossard planned the killing for financial gain, and described her as 'sexually deviant' and 'venomous.'

'She stirred up the fantasies of a 50-year-old man, who became dependent on a sexually deviant little blonde from the suburbs,' said Marc Bonnant.

The jury decided her behaviour was 'cynical and manipulative', and that she could have 'run away, cried or collapsed' instead of shooting Mr Stern three more times.

She escaped the maximum 20-year jail term because of diminished responsibility.

With good behaviour, she could be free in two years, having served four years on remand.


Former call girl pleads guilty to killing billionaire French banker after kinky sex session

By Peter Allen -

June 11, 2009

A former call girl pleaded guilty to killing a billionaire French banker after kinky sex and an argument over $1 million, saying the crime was 'not a question of money but of the heart'.

Cecile Brossard interrupted proceedings to tell the packed Geneva courtroom that she had committed an 'abominable act' against her lover Edouard Stern, and wanted the full truth to be known.

Stern, 50, was found dead in his locked luxury Geneva flat on March 1, 2005. Four bullet holes pierced the head-to-toe flesh-coloured latex outfit he still wore from the night before.

My heart is full of remorse and pain. I have come to explain myself, not to defend myself, and say how it happened,' a sobbing Brossard said in a barely audible voice.

'I know it was my fault.'

She expressed regret that his three adult children - two of whom were allowed to testify privately earlier - would never again be able to celebrate Christmas with their father.

'I want to tell them the truth, not destroy Edouard or dirty his name,' the 40-year-old said. He had been the 'most intelligent, refined, cultivated and marvellous man' she had ever known.

Marc Bonnant, the Stern family lawyer, intervened to say: 'If he was such a marvellous man, you shouldn't have shot him'.

Stern's family, including his former wife Beatrice, was seated just a few feet behind Brossard, who wore grey trousers and a blue vest, her blond hair in a tight bun.

'The defence will plead it was a crime of passion,' Brossard's defence lawyer Alec Reymond told the courtroom.

Court papers showed Brossard confessed to having killed Stern with his own revolver after an argument over $1 million he put into her Swiss account after she demanded it as 'proof of his love for her'.

He blocked it after she refused to return it.

Investigating officers who testified on Wednesday quoted Brossard as having said she shot Stern after he told her: 'One million dollars is a lot of money to pay for a whore.'

The banker was sitting with his hands tied, wearing a full latex bodysuit, when she first shot him between the eyes with his own handgun.

Somehow he got to his feet so she shot him twice in the torso. Brossard finished the billionaire off with a bullet to the temple.

Stern, scion of a banking family and the 38th richest man in France, counted President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist politician Laurent Fabius among his friends.

He was once heir apparent to his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill of the investment bank Lazard Freres.

Known for his abrasive style, he ran an investment fund from Geneva and gave advice on some of Europe's largest mergers. His murder rocked the staid Swiss city's financial circles.

Beatrice Stern, his wife from 1983 to 1999, testified that his children still spoke every day of their father. 'He was their hero.' she said.

Edouard Stern had an 'explosive' character at times but quickly regained his composure and was not a manipulator, she said.

'Nothing could have justified killing him. It made no sense.'

Two police officers testified that Brossard was arrested two weeks after the crime after fleeing to Italy and Australia.

The murder weapon, which she had thrown into Lake Geneva, and the dominatrix clothing she had worn were also recovered.

It was Brossard who introduced the French banker to sado-masochism. She also acted as a go-between, supplying him with women and men she knew.

The couple were known to have taken part in threesomes, at other times she watched His sexual appetite was said to be enormous and the couple regularly took part in threesomes.

They broke up six or seven times. When she didnt respond to his calls, he would insist on talking. He is said to have harassed her with phone calls, e-mails, text messages.

Chief prosecutor Daniel Zappelli has said he will seek a conviction for murder, for which the maximum penalty is 20 years' imprisonment, rather than a crime of passion, which has a 10-year maximum sentence.

A verdict is expected on June 19.


Risqu Management: The Murder of Edouard Stern

By Bruce Gain -


Colleagues became concerned when Edouard Stern, one of France's richest men, did not show up for a business appointment March 1, 2005. The next day, fearing that he might have suffered a heart attack when he still did not answer his phone, they contacted his cleaning service and gained entry to his apartment. Inside, they found Edouard's hooded body on the floor of his bedroom, clad in a latex bodysuit and harness and lying in a mess of drying blood. The autopsy report would later reveal that Edouard had been shot four times in the head and body at point-blank range.

Edouard's ultra-luxe apartment complex was located in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Geneva. Immaculately clean, Geneva is a city in which cars seen speeding or scofflaws discarding a half-eaten apple on the sidewalk can spur vigilant citizens to call the police who respond to such leads and assiduously seek the culprits.

With nearby snow-capped mountains and Lake Geneva--Lake Leman in the French spoken in that part of Switzerland--dotted with luxury yachts, Geneva is one of Europe's most pristine major cities, a city where vast fortunes can be discreetly handled by the many banks whose account holders' privacy and identities are jealously guarded. Bank officials there and throughout Switzerland pride themselves on the prudent delicacy they offer their clients from around the world.

Geneva is a remarkably safe city compared to major metropolitan areas in the rest of the world, a place where millionaires can freely walk the streets or drive around in a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley--Edouard himself had owned one at the time of his death--at any hour of the day or night with little worry about violent crime. But even in this seemingly secure environment, Edouard had not felt safe. He had fortified his luxury apartment with extra security alarms and video cameras both around and inside the building he owned, at 17 Rue Adrien-Lachenal. Stern lived on the fifth floor, surrounded above and below by other wealthy tenants. On the ground floor, there was a Geneva police station.

Stern had also secured a concealed firearms permit and owned several handguns prior to his death. Getting a handgun permit in Europe is difficult, but Stern, the scion of an eminent French banking family linked by blood and breeding to the business and political leaders of France, had connections in high places. Edouard also had had reason to apply for a gun permit: he had received several death threats in the months and weeks preceding his murders.

The News Quickly Spreads

The day Stern's body was discovered, the normally sedate city of Geneva was uncharacteristically busy and crowded. The second press day of the Geneva Motor Show, one of the world's largest car industry conventions, was just ending. Thousands of journalists, car industry executives, and exhibitors created traffic jams. Anyone stuck in traffic that afternoon and early evening with the radio on quickly learned that a major financier had been found dead under mysterious circumstances that day. The news traveled fast; the rumors of the state in which his body had been discovered, with their redolence of sadomasochism or other fetishism, proved too salacious even for the normally restrained and circumspect authorities of Geneva and were soon leaked and broadcast around the world.

Most of Stern's immediate family was in United States. His ex-wife, Beatrice David-Weill, and their three children lived in New York. She had become nervous when Stern had not called her as he had continued to do on a daily basis, even after their divorce. Stern's grandmother also lived in New York, where she had emigrated after fleeing Nazi rule in Europe during World War II.

A Thousand Enemies

Edouard had accumulated a large number of enemies and detractors--both disgruntled employees and professional rivals during his life. He attended but did not graduate from the l'ecole Superieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC), one of France's Grande Ecoles-- "Great Schools" which the vast majority of France's elite politicians and business leaders attend for university training. Dropping out of ESSEC in 1976 because of financial difficulties at Banque Stern, the cornerstone of the family fortune, Edouard, with the aid of his uncles and grandfather, took control of the bank from his father, whom he would ultimately fire. Edouard and his father would not speak to each other for 15 years, until a partial reconciliation at his father's deathbed.

Repairing the family fortunes, Edouard sold the assets of Banque Stern to a group of Lebanese investors in 1984, but then founded a new Banque Stern that he would sell in turn to Swiss investors in 1988. At that time, the Stern family ranked 38th among France's wealthiest families.

During his tenure at Banque Stern, Edouard's management style of his subordinates was just as abrasive and aggressive as his high-charged investment strategies and hostile take-over schemes. Edouard reportedly would abruptly fire staffers on the spot, often more out of pique than for shoddy job performance. One trader in France was reportedly fired for refusing to work while on vacation, in a country where holidays are sacrosanct. Much of his frenetic work pace was reportedly devoted to petty in-fighting, seeking to get back at subordinates and colleagues who he thought had crossed him.

Marrying the daughter of Michel David-Weill, the Chairman of the historic international banking house of Lazard Freres in 1984, Edouard in 1992 became a senior executive at the globally renowned firm. Seen as the heir apparent to David-Weill, Edouard nonetheless left the firm abruptly in 1997, following a series of personality clashes between him, David-Weill and other executive board members. Edouard's abrasive personality and style were reportedly out of sync with the bank's more polished culture.

Leaving Lazard, Edouard in 1998 started International Real Returns (IRR), a private equity fund which invested in a range of ventures, from restaurants to major stock holdings in multinational companies. One such investment involved a scheme which reportedly linked Stern to eastern European executives with ties to the Russian mafia.

In 2003, IRR took a huge financial hit after losing most of the close to $90 million it had invested in the French chemical company Rhodia. When Rhodia's stock tanked, Edouard sued, claiming Rhodia executives had misled investors about the company's true value and had misstated its financial earnings. Stern, along with fellow investor Hughes de Lasteyrie du Saillant (who died in 2007 of a heart attack) also met with then Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau about Rhodia, which was was traded on the New York Stock Exchange as well as the French Bourse.

Stern's lawsuit was an uphill battle, though. France's economic and political leadership have been closely intertwined for decades under an economic policy called dirigisme, in which technocratic elites from government, finance and industry, all products of the Grande Ecoles, move professionally with ease between the public and private sectors and confer closely to optimize economic conditions. The head of Rodia's audit committee Thierry Breton, for instance, became France's finance minister in 2005 shortly after leaving Rhodia.

Edouard reportedly had expressed concerns about his safety due to his involvement with the lawsuit against Rhodia. After Edouard's death, de Lasteyrie du Saillant disappeared and did not emerge again until after learning about the true circumstances surrounding Edouard's murder. IRR's losses investing in Rhodia were also of concern to Lazard, which had invested in IRR as part of Stern's negotiated departure from the firm.

The S&M Link

In the days following the news of Edouard's murder, the French and Swiss press ran riot with rumors and speculation about the possible links his death might have had to Rhodia, the Russian mafia, or both. It was reported that a French prosecuting attorney had suggested to Edouard that he purchase a gun in the course of the Rhodia affair. But true to Swiss discretion, the Geneva investigators had soon identified a prime suspect for Edouard's murder of whom the press remained ignorant until the police made the arrest.

Unknown to the press, it had not taken long for investigators to link Edouard's latex-clad body to one Cecile Brossard, 36. The police first learned that Cecile was one of a few people, along with the maid and Edouard's inner circle of business associates, who had keys to his apartment, to which there had been no sign of forced entry.

Just a few days after Edouard's body was found, investigators summoned for questioning both Ccile and her husband, Xavier Gillet, a licensed herbologist, massage therapist and alternative medicine practitioner. Gillet kept Ccile in clothes and luxury cars and was well aware of her comings and goings with Edouard. The couple had reportedly married during a quick ceremony in Las Vegas, but records of the couple's marriage do not exist in Switzerland or in France.

The couple was interrogated about their marital status, who their lawyers were, and their bank accounts. They were fingerprinted and photographed. Ccile was held for questioning for nine hours, longer than her husband, but was then released since there was not enough direct evidence tying her to the crime.

The Swiss detectives then tapped Ccile's and her husband's phones. Ccile remained a person of interest and so was not allowed to leave Switzerland.

A few days later, investigators traced the license plate of a BMW Mini caught on a security videotape speeding from the murder scene to Ccile's husband and his apartment in nearby Clarens, where Ccile slept in a separate bedroom from Gillet. After her fingerprints were matched to those found on the latex suit on Edouard's body, Ccile was arrested.

After her arrest, the hysterical Ccile immediately confessed. Most of what she said would later be corroborated and introduced in the court proceedings leading up to her trial. Yes, she confessed, she had shot Edouard four times in the face, gut, chest, and head while he stood clad in fetish attire shortly after a sexual encounter.

She then took investigators to the spot on Lake Lman where she said she had disposed of the pistol with which she shot Edouard. Divers soon recovered the murder weapon from the lake.

Unhappy Past

Ccile was not raised in a world of wealth and privilege like Edouard's. Little is reported about her mother except that she suffered from depression. After her parents' divorce, Ccile lived with her mother outside of the Paris region until she moved in with her father in the Parisian suburbs as an adolescent.

Paris is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but the surrounding suburbs are very different. The suburbs can be dreary, treeless small towns and cities connected by chaotic tangles of streets, highways, commuter train tracks, and thousands of square miles of pavement over what had once been fields and meadows. Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where Ccile last lived with her father after her parents' divorce, was one of these suburbs in the greater Paris metropolis.

Ccile's father, who had worked at an ad agency, was surprisingly happy to speak to reporters about his daughter. He claimed that he had sought to instill in Ccile an appreciation for music, art, and literature during her childhood, although, in fact, he had often been absent from her life, especially when she was a child. "Was she capable of murder?" Mr. Brossard was asked. Mr. Brossard responded that he thought Ccile would never "pull the trigger." She was far too clever to commit a murder, her father said, that could be so easily linked to her. If she were to kill someone, then it would be in a way that would make it difficult to link her to the crime, Ccile's father said.

However, Mr. Brossard's credibility as a character reference for his daughter was soon put in doubt. Besides his well-documented absenteeism as a father in Ccile's childhood, reports later revealed that he had hardly had any contact with his daughter in the eight years prior to the murder. Most of the few conversations they had had were by phone.

Ccile's lawyer, Pascal Maurer, told truTV that Ccile's father had unusual notions about what was appropriate for children to see and witness, such as thinking it was acceptable to let Ccile watch Stanley Kubrick's ultra-violent movie A Clockwork Orange at the age of eight.

Call Girl Allegations

As a young adult, Ccile obtained a job in England as an au pair and then as a waitress. But she soon wound back up in the Parisian suburbs, where she got another job in a restaurant at Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Shortly thereafter, Ccile began working in a duty-free shop at the airport, her only documented employment in France. Ccile then reportedly began working as an upscale call girl for wealthy men in Paris, at least according to her father, who volunteered to the press that he believed she had worked as a prostitute.

Whether or not Ccile was a prostitute remains unclear. If true, then it appears that it was for a short time. Ccile, for her part, claims she never sold sex for money, despite what her father told the press.

She did manage to purchase a house by herself near Charles de Gaulle airport in 1993 at Nanteuil-le-Haudouin. Although she was barely making more than a minimum-wage salary at her jobs at the airport, Ccile also had enough money left over to remodel the house's two bathrooms, adding a jacuzzi and a sauna. Her lawyer maintains that an unnamed friend and her father helped her with these expenses, not prostitution.

A few years after buying her house, Ccile met Xavier Gillet sometime in 1996 or 1997. While the pre-trial court documents list Ccile as single, Ccile and Gillet were married in Las Vegas in 1998. However, Ccile kept her house at Nanteuil-le-Haudouin.

After meeting Gillet, Ccile by most accounts engaged in an active extramarital sex life, which Gillet, at the very least, tolerated. According to some press reports, she had a particularly keen interest in sadomasochistic sex. But Ccile had other interests as well.

Ccile had harbored an interest in art since her childhood and pursued her interests in sculpture, painting, and interior decorating as an adult. At her house in Nanteuil-le-Haudouin, she sculpted erotically-themed statutes and composed sexually charged poems.

The Fateful Encounter

Ccile and Edouard were introduced by a couple of art gallery owners over dinner at an upscale restaurant in Paris in 2001. Some reports maintain that Edouard became enamored of Ccile's sexual talents, particularly as a dominatrix, while others claim instead he took more of an interest in Ccile's artistic side, evinced by his hiring her to redecorate his apartment in Geneva.

They were in some sense a couple, but the true nature of their relationship remains a mystery. Ccile was seen with Edouard at restaurants and social events over the course of the next few years. It was assumed by many that she was one of Edouard's more regular paramours and nothing more. To Edouard's wealthy circle of friends, colleagues, and at least one family member, Ccile seemed quiet and reserved, and did not leave much of an impression, either good or bad.

Edouard also brought Ccile along on trips abroad, to such far-flung places as Siberia and Australia. He once invited her along on a trip to a private African game preserve to hunt big game. There Edouard introduced Ccile to the thrill he got shooting wild animals with the high-powered guns of which he was an avid collector.

After his murder, it was later reported that Edouard was on occasion at Cecile's house in Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and elsewhere for gatherings with others involving fetishism. The French tabloid press speculated that Ccile offered Edouard psychological freedom from his hyperkinetic, frenzied pace as an international financier, from his own domineering and controlling personality, and from all the constraints and pressures that otherwise consumed him.

But while there was much speculation about the sadomasochistic nature of their relationship, the couple had more traditional sexual relations like any couple otherwise would, Ccile's lawyer, told truTV.

"The much publicized sexual aspects of the relationship were really just one small part of the equation and were not very important. She adored him--and continues to adore him--while he loved her in his own way," Maurer said. "Their relationship was passionate, difficult, and complicated, but there was a lot of love as well."

The Million-Dollar Promise

Despite his riches, Ccile's relationship with Edouard varied over the years. Whether or not Gillet approved of Ccile's relationship with Edouard, it seems Gillet and Ccile's relationship was more platonic than that of a husband and wife. Still, Ccile would not, she claimed, abandon her relationship with Gillet to marry and live with Stern.

Ccile's lawyers claim Edouard proposed marriage to Ccile in December 2004 and offered to "make her independent." Part of Edouard's marriage proposal, they say, was the offer to pay Ccile $1 million. But when the money was not wired to her account a few days later as promised, Ccile told Edouard she wanted to end their relationship. Ccile then sent Edouard a letter in which she said that the gift of a million euros would prove that he really loved her.

Edouard then, Ccile claimed, made good on his promise and wired $1 million to Ccile's account in January. But in February, documents show,Edouard then reversed the wire transfer and the money was frozen in her account. Stern's family maintains the money was a down payment for the purchase of some paintings for Edouard, but Ccile's lawyers maintain that the money was a lover's present which Edouard revoked in an attempt to maintain control over her.

On February 28, Ccile came to Edouard's apartment with, her lawyer's claim, the intention to discuss why Edouard had reneged on his promise. Nothing was resolved, but evidently both had sex on their minds. Ccile slipped once more into her fetish garb as the dominatrix, and Edouard put on his latex body suit to let Ccile tie him up, ready to be punished.

Still, Ccile was far from happy about Edouard's handling of the money and became enraged,�her lawyers maintain, when Edouard said something to the effect of "$1 million is a lot of money to pay for a whore." Ccile then removed one of the pistols Edouard kept in a drawer and shot him at point blank range.

When the first bullet struck him, her lawyers relate, Edouard, exceptionally fit at the age 50, stood up, but crumpled to the floor after Ccile fired two more shots into his body. She then fired a final shot into his right temple.

Escape to Sydney

Ccile's actions immediately after she fired the four bullets into Edouard's face and body at point blank range are a major source of debate between prosecutors and Ccile's defense attorney. The defense claims that Ccile acted in a distraught and irrational matter after the crime, while the prosecution maintains that she had rational motives for everything she did after murdering Edouard and remained in full control of her mental faculties.

After killing Edouard, Ccile began trying to remove her traces from the crime scene. She gathered her fetish gear--tights, a dog-collar, a latex suit and other accessories, the murder weapon, the two other high-caliber pistols Edouard kept in a drawer, and the four spent pistol shell casings. She then left the apartment, locking the door behind her with her set of keys.

Ccile sped off in the BMW Mini that Gillet let her use when in Switzerland en route to Gillet's apartment in Clarens. Along the way, she dumped the pistols in Lake Lman. Once in Clarens, Ccile explained to Gillet that she had a horrible fight with Edouard and that she was leaving town for a few days.

That night, Ccile boarded a train for Rome, but realized that she had mistakenly gotten on board a local commuter train when it left the station. She got off the train at the nearby town of Villeneuve and took a cab to the airport in Milan, about 185 miles away for a reported sum of 800 euros ($1,061). Along the way, Ccile threw the spent shell casings from the murder weapon and the keys to Edouard's apartment out the window.

The airport was closed when she arrived at about 4:30 a.m. Ccile offered to pay more for the cab driver to take her to Rome, but he refused. Ccile then began pounding against the cab window with her firsts, screaming hysterically. She ended up waiting outside in the cold at the front entrance until the airport opened a couple of hours later at which time she bought a one-way ticket to Sydney, Australia. Ccile reportedly chose Australia as her destination since it was, for her, the "place the farthest away that she could go to," and was also a place to which she had once accompanied Edouard on a business trip.

Before boarding a connecting flight later that day in Vienna, Ccile called her lawyer and gave instructions to attempt to block Edouard's attempts to recover the million dollars from her account. Ccile then took a heavy dose of the anti-anxiety medication bromazepam and slept for most of the 24-hour flight to Sydney. Once there, she checked herself into an airport hotel.

Ccile didn't spend a long time in Sydney but while there, she called several people. She phoned her lawyer and her bank about the money. Ccile also called Edouard's half-sister Fabienne, expressing shock over the phone when Fabienne told her about the discovery of Edouard's body. According to Marc Bonnant, an attorney representing the Stern family, Ccile pretended to cry, which for him, was a "cynical" act.

Bonnant's assessment of Ccile's case is that Ccile's trip to Australia was part of a cold and calculated plan, not an erratic mad dash across the world made in the heat of the moment. While in Sydney, Ccile instructed her husband by phone, for example, to wash down the Mini with which she drove to and from Edouard's apartment on the day of the murder.

When Ccile left Edouard for dead after shooting him, Bonnant posits, she did not know whether he was still alive or not. Bonnant maintains that Ccile learned during a phone call to a friend of a rumor that said Edouard had died after she'd left the country, and she exalted over the phone that it could not have been she who killed him because she had an alibi. She then decided to go back to Switzerland after shrewdly and rationally determining that her return would make her seem less culpable, Bonnant maintains.

While in Sydney, Ccile also mailed a package containing clothes items to her uncle and aunt who lived in Nancy, France. According to some reports, Ccile sent normal clothes, such as such as slacks, a blouse, and a brassiere, but in fact, Bonnant claimed, the package contained the fetish garb she had been wearing when she shot Edouard.

Ccile only remained in Sydney for about 24 hours before she was on another flight headed back to Switzerland. When the plane touched down in Singapore for a layover, Ccile had a panic attack and began screaming hysterically when she read about Edouard's murder on the front page of the French newspaper Le Figaro. A doctor was called who reluctantly agreed to let her continue on the flight and gave her a prescription for more sedatives.

But while Ccile did appear to be in a hysterical state of mind, she also managed to call her lawyer and bank while in Singapore. She also contacted her aunt in Nancy, who agreed to pick her up at the airport and take her to Clarens.

When Ccile walked through customs in Zurich, the police were already waiting for her, and she was brought to the police station for the first round of questioning.

Life in a Swiss Jail

In the spring of 2008, Jacques Gasser, a psychiatrist the prosecutors appointed, stated after interviewing and observing Ccile that there was little evidence that Ccile killed Edouard in a "state of passion."

"Ccile Brossard never lost her capacity to know that her actions were wrong," Gasser wrote. "Her ability to determine that was, at the most, slightly diminished."

Gasser acknowledged that Ccile did show signs of having a borderline personality with narcissistic tendencies. However, central to the prosecution's case, Ccile was "not delirious nor were her perceptions of reality altered" when she murdered Edouard, Gasser wrote.

Ccile apparently attempted to commit suicide shortly before the psychiatrist's report was released. Little was written about the incident, except that Ccile had slit her wrists while being transported from the prison in Champ-Dollon to the Belle Idee hospital, but that her life was never in danger.

However, Cecile's attempt to end her life can also be construed as part of a pattern of psychotic behavior she has exhibited since she was jailed almost four years ago. She is heavily dependant on the anti-anxiety medication benzodiazpine, and she constantly claims to be in direct contact with Edouard. According to the psychiatric report, Ccile once declared that "his death has fused them together."

One may be tempted to think that Ccile's irrational behavior, holding conversations with dead people, is a ruse to help convince a jury of her diminished mental capacity in a court of law. However, even Bonnant does not think her behavior is an act. Instead, Bonnant told Crime Library, her eccentricities may largely stem from being alone in a cell for several years.

"I believe she was actually very much in love with [Edouard], and the solitude of jail has made something almost mystical out of the affair for her," Bonnant told Crime Library. "It is a normal system of psychological defense, and is a way to put herself out of reach of her own conscience."

When she is not talking to Edouard, Ccile spends her time in her cell thinking and writing, Bonnant said. Compared to women's maximum security prisons in other parts of the world, Ccile is treated "humanely" and is allowed one personal visit per week, he said.

Upcoming Trial

Ccile's trial is set to begin in 2009. Chiefly at issue is Ccile's mental state at the time of the murder. Indeed, similar to penal codes in the United States, a major distinction is made between murder with and without mitigating circumstances. For the defense, Ccile's actions after the murder demonstrate her "diminished capacity" owing to her imbalanced psychological state and loss of control during a fit of passion. But for the prosecutors as well as Bonnant, Ccile was in full control of her mental faculties and was merely enraged over Edouard's decision to not give her the million dollars as promised.

"Her actions and motives clearly show that she was motivated purely by egotistical reasons relating to the money he promised her," Bonnant told Crime Library.

Under Swiss law, assassinat is defined as a killing with premeditated intent, and meurtre as unpremeditated killing. To receive an even lesser sentence for meurtre passionel--for a crime of passion, the defendant must convince a judge or jury that there were mitigating circumstances that led to the crime. Defendants guilty of meurtre passionel get one to ten years, while those convicted of meurtre alone get sentences of five to 20 years in Switzerland, and the sentence for assassinat ranges from 10 years to life. Perpetrators usually serve only two thirds of their sentences, so by factoring in the time she has already served since 2005, Ccile could potentially be free immediately following the trial if she is convicted of meurtre passionel.



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