'Killer' mistress driven to brink by French banker

23rd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, March 22 (AFP) - The woman accused of murdering French banker Edouard Stern in his Swiss home was remanded in custody for three months Tuesday as her lawyer pleaded that she was constantly driven to the brink by her former lover.

GENEVA, March 22 (AFP) - The woman accused of murdering French banker Edouard Stern in his Swiss home was remanded in custody for three months Tuesday as her lawyer pleaded that she was constantly driven to the brink by her former lover.

A court in Geneva extended 36-year-old Cecile Brossard's detention following a brief hearing, one week after she was arrested by Swiss police. Brossard, who did not appear in court Tuesday, has admitted killing Stern in his flat after a stormy and "complicated" four-year relationship with the wealthy 50-year-old, according to magistrates and defence lawyers.

Stern, who had been shot four times, was found dressed in a latex bodysuit in his bedroom on March 1.

Defence lawyer Pascal Maurer revealed that the banker had been shot with one of his own guns.

"They had a strange relationship that doesn't fit with the common criteria of a loving relationship," he said.

"There were particular tendencies. When I have more explanations, I'll let you know if it was sado-masochistic or not," Maurer added.

Brossard had explained that she had acted "in a moment of despair, of intense emotion, reacting to manipulation, to provocation and disappointments".

The murder bore "all the elements of a crime of passion" and not the more serious charge of aggravated murder that had been levelled against her by prosecutors, Maurer insisted.

"When she distanced herself from him, he virtually persecuted here so that she would come back, he harassed her, she returned, she loved him and then he rejected her. That's the notion of manipulation," he said.

Brossard had admitted throwing three guns in Lake Geneva, including the one she used to shoot Stern, because they bore her fingerprints, Maurer said. They were recovered by police last week.

She then fled to Australia, from where she sent a parcel to an uncle and aunt in eastern France containing some of the clothes she was wearing on the night, and later returned to her home in Switzerland.

Maurer confirmed that Brossard and Stern had been at odds over USD 1 million (EUR 767,000) he had given to her.

He denied that she was part of a network of call-girls.

Stern was the former heir-apparent to his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill, chairman and controlling shareholder of the French investment bank Lazard Freres.

The banker, who had a reputation as a brilliant but abrasive deal-maker, left Lazard after a quarrel in 1997 to run his own investment fund.

He was separated from his wife, Beatrice David-Weill, who lives in New York with their three children.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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