The macabre killing of one of France's wealthiest men was an intentional murder and not a "crime of passion", a Swiss jury decided yesterday.
Cécile Brossard, 40, was found guilty of murdering her lover, the financier Edouard Stern, while he was bound to a chair in a latex body-suit at his flat in Geneva in February 2005.
The 12 jurors rejected Brossard's defence that she had been overcome by passion after her long-term lover had called her a "whore". However, the jury accepted that the French woman had acted in a state of "diminished responsibility". She may therefore be given a relatively short jail term when sentence is passed today.
M. Stern, 50, was one of France's most influential men and a personal friend of the future President, Nicolas Sarkozy. He and Brossard had a four-year sado-masochistic affair before they quarrelled over her demands for a payment of $1m as a "token of his love".
After M. Stern first paid, then blocked, the money, Brossard admitted shooting him during an elaborate sexual game. Her lawyers argued the killing was a "crime of passion", provoked when the banker said: "A million dollars is a lot of money to pay for a whore." Under Swiss law, a lighter sentence can be passed if a murderer is found guilty of a crime of passion.
After retiring for eight hours, the jury agreed M. Stern had provoked his lover, but they rejected the defence argument that she had been overcome by uncontrollable emotion. Brossard's murderous act – shooting M. Stern twice in the head and twice in the body – was not emotionally "excusable", the jury decided. She could have "run away, cried or collapsed rather than commit murder".
The jurors also pointed to her "calculating, cynical and manipulative" acts after the shooting. Brossard tried to create an alibi by flying to Sydney and then straight back to Europe.