Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Risqué Management: The Murder of Edouard Stern

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 Cécile Brossard, 36. The police first learned that Cécile 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.

Cécile Brossard (seated at center)
Cécile Brossard (seated at
Just a few days after Edouard's body was found, investigators summoned for questioning both Cécile and her husband, Xavier Gillet, a licensed herbologist, massage therapist and alternative medicine practitioner. Gillet kept Cécile 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. Cécile 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 Cécile's and her husband's phones. Cécile 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 Cécile's husband and his apartment in nearby Clarens, where Cécile slept in a separate bedroom from Gillet. After her fingerprints were matched to those found on the latex suit on Edouard's body, Cécile was arrested.

After her arrest, the hysterical Cécile 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 Léman where she said she had disposed of the pistol with which she shot Edouard. Divers soon recovered the murder weapon from the lake.

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