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A Swiss court has found the lover of a prominent French banker guilty of murder for shooting her partner dead during a latex-clad sado-masochistic sex session four years ago.
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. Edouard Stern's former wife Beatrice arrives at court. Credit: AFP. Brossard had pleaded guilty to killing Edouard Stern at the beginning of the trial, which exposed the lurid detail of their relationship and a tale of sex, power and money.
The verdict means that Brossard, who has already been detained for four years, 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 February 28, 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.
Her defence lawyers argued she was driven by passion when she snapped under the pressure of a tormented four-year relationship with Stern, whom they portrayed as a "narcissistic pervert" and deeply manipulative. Prosecutors and attorneys for Stern's family had alleged instead that Brossard was "venomous", cynically motivated by greed and the prospect of a one million dollar payment he had made to her but later froze.
Her defence team were pleading for "passionate murder" under Swiss law, that would have acknowledged that she was gripped by a "violent emotion that the circumstances made excusable" or was "in a state of deep distress" when she murdered Stern. In the verdict released on Wednesday, the jury acknowledged that Brossard was deeply distraught when she shot him at close range.