Swiss court finds lover guilty of murdering banker
A jury in Geneva rules that Cecile Brossard murdered prominent French banker Edouard Stern.Geneva -- A Swiss court on Wednesday found the lover of a prominent French banker guilty of murder for shooting her partner dead during a latex-clad sado-masochistic sex session in 2005.
After a week-long trial, a jury at the high court in Geneva ruled that Cecile Brossard committed murder, denying the defence team's pleas for a crime of passion that would have automatically cut her sentence.
Brossard had pleaded guilty to killing Edouard Stern at the beginning of the trial, which exposed the details of their relationship.
The verdict means that Brossard, who has been detained since 2005, will face a maximum of 20 years in jail when sentencing is discussed in court on Thursday.
Fifty-year-old Stern, a prominent French financier whose circle of friends included President Nicolas Sarkozy, was shot in his penthouse flat in the western Swiss city during a sex game on 28 February 2005.
His corpse was found the following day, dressed in a full-body latex suit with two bullet holes in his head and another two in his torso.
Brossard, a 40 year-old French citizen, eventually confessed to the killing.
Her defence lawyers argued she was driven by passion and the pressure of a tormented four-year relationship with Stern, whom they portrayed as a "narcissistic pervert".
Prosecutors and attorneys for Stern's family alleged instead that Brossard was "venomous", motivated by greed and the prospect of a USD 1 million (CHF 1.08 million) payment he made to her but later froze.
The defence team pleaded for “passionate murder" that, under Swiss law, would have acknowledged she was gripped by a "violent emotion that made the circumstances made excusable" or was "in a state of deep distress" when she committed the crime.
In the verdict released Wednesday, the jury acknowledged that Brossard was deeply distraught when she shot Stern at close range and did not doubt the sincerity of her feelings for him.
He was "humiliating," harassed her and "alternated sermons of love with displays of contempt," the jury said, recognising that Brossard was suddenly tipped into hatred that evening when Stern told her "one million is a lot for a hooker."
But she could not be excused, they added, because she was "at least partially responsible" for her own emotional state as well as the situation they were in.
The jury did not sense that Brossard was after the banker's fortune, but thought she helped trigger Stern's reaction by not returning the money when he froze it.
They also accused her of "cynical and manipulative behaviour" after the murder, saying she "coldly" cleaned up the crime scene and "brazenly lied" to police and her own sister.
Before the jury retired for its deliberation on Wednesday, Brossard repeated an emotional apology to the family of Stern, who was estranged from his wife, "from the bottom of my heart."
She asked the bench to tell Stern's three children that she would never seek to harm their father's memory.
"I am a woman who is desperately in love with a man and I remain so," Brossard said.
AFP / Expatica