Cecile Brossard: The Bondage Dominatrix Gone Bad

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Hello and welcome to A Murderess Affair, the podcast where we talk about women in history known for mayhem and murder. My name is Gabrielle and this week our murderess is a woman who killed her billionaire lover, and who’s sex life seems to be more radical and focused on than the murder she committed. Her name is Cecile Brossard.


This tale takes place in Switzerland, so please excuse any words that I don’t say correctly.


Not much is known about her early life-her parents divorced at a young age and she lived with her mother for a while before moving in with her father in the Paris suburbs. Her father worked at an ad agency, and seemed to be mostly absent or leave hardly any trace in her life despite having her live with him. Reportedly, he was really into the “hands off” parenting style, highlights of which included letting Cecile watch A Clockwork Orange when she was 8 years old home alone.


Her father, in a move that screams “Dad of the Year”, told the press that he believes as a young adult she began working as a prostitute. However, Brossard denies this.


As a young adult, she says she first began working in England as an au pair and then got a job as a waitress. Eventually she made her way back to Paris where she worked at a restaurant in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport. She eventually moved from the restaurant to a duty-free shop, and then from working at the duty free shop to being a call girl for wealthy Parisian men.


This is where the point of argument comes in, Cecile says she never sold sex for money, but her father claims the opposite. Honestly, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of both of them because neither of them seem like very reliable characters.


She did, it has been pointed out, manage to buy a house herself near the airport in 1993. And although she was making barely more than minimum wage, she was also able to remodel the 2 bathrooms, add a jacuzzi, and a sauna.


At one point she met someone named Xavier Gillet, and they were married in Las Vegas in 1998.


I truly enjoy how this article in murderpedia phrases the next piece of what they consider vital information about her. Like, the rampant sexism is unbelievable.

“After meeting Gillet Cecile by most accounts engaged in an active extramarital sex life….according to some press reports she had a particularly keen interest in sadomasochistic sex. But she had other interests as well. Cecile had harbored an interest in art since her childhood and pursued her interests in sculpture, painting, and interior decorating as an adult....at her house she sculpted erotically themed statues and composed sexually charged poems.”

Obviously, she was some sort of crazed sex demon who’s appetite for men couldn’t be quenched even by the most outlandish sex acts, and therefore it’s no surprise she turned to murder.


Like, I get it. Sex sells. But the fact that I can find out her preferred sexual kinks easier than I can find her birthday is a little ridiculous.


Anyway, Cecile meets Edouard Stern, the man who would be her victim, through some of her art gallery acquaintances in 2001. They were all at a dinner in a fancy upscale restaurant. Some people claim that Edouard was interested in her dominatrix talents, some claim that no, no, it was actually her artistic side that appealed to him the most.


Either way, they began some sort of relationship. They were seen together at restaurants and social events over the next few years, and Cecile even went with Edouard on some of his international trips. He took her to Siberia, Australia, and even to this fancy private African game preserve to hunt big game. And yes, he was one of those men who not only hunted but like to collect and keep guns at his Geneva, Switzerland apartment.


A little about Edouard. He was a billionaire international banker who was apparently 38th on France’s most wealthy list. He was born into an extremely rich French family, and basically inherited the private investment firm, Banque Stern, from his family, revolutionized it, and sold it for 300 million francs. And that was when he was 22.


So that’s what he did to make his living, basically. And you can imagine, his death caused some massive shock waves.


During the time that Cecile and Edouard had this relationship, Cecile was still married to Xavier Gillet. Now, Cecile and Gillet’s relationship seemed to be more platonic than romantic according to those who knew them. But still, they were obviously important to each other.


And this seemed to be proven when according to Cecile, Edouard proposed to marry her in December 2004, with part of the proposal being the gift of a million euros. She claims to have said she would not abandon her relationship with Gillet to marry and live with Stern. However, it isn’t stated whether this statement was before or after the money wasn’t wired to her account a few days after the proposal as promised.


After the funds didn’t show up, Cecile sent a letter to Edouard where she told him how the gift of a million euros would really prove how much he loved her. In January, Edouard wired the $1 million into Cecile’s account, only to have the wire transfer reversed and money frozen in February.


Now, when questions about the money came up, Edouard’s family claims that the money sent was actually a down payment for some paintings Edouard was hoping to purchase, but Cecile and her lawyers maintain it was this engagement present that was then revoked.


On February 28, Cecile went to Edouard’s apartment to talk about why the funds weren’t there. Supposedly, Edouard said something like “$1 million is a lot of money to pay for a whore.”


What ended up happening is unsure, but it lead to Edouard putting on a latex body suit, letting Cecile tie him up and insert a dildo into him. She then reached into a drawer and pulled out one of the guns that Edouard liked to collect, and shoot him point blank. He actually stood up, because even though he was in his 50’s he was a relatively in shape man, but when Cecile shot him twice more he fell to the floor.


And then Cecile shot him in the head, just to make sure he was, in fact, dead.


After killing Edouard, Cecile then took all her gear-tights, a dog collar, a latex suit, the murder weapon, and some additional guns from Edouards apartment along with the 4 shell casings. She locked the apartment door with her own set of keys.


Then, she went to where her husband Gillet was at his apartment, tossing the pistols into a lake called Lake Leman as she passed by. When she got there, she told Gillet that she and Edouard had had a horrible fight and she was leaving for a few days.


She took a train to a town called Villeneuve and then took a taxi to a Milan airport, where she through the shell casings from the murder weapon and Edouard’s apartment keys out the window.

When she got to the airport, it was 4:30 AM and the airport was closed. Cecile tried to get the taxi driver to take her to Rome but he refused, which I think should have been obvious. At that point, he’d already driven her 185 miles to Milan and I think he knew something was up.


Her solution was to scream hysterically and pound at the taxi windows while he drove away, and then wait outside the airport in the cold until she could buy a 1 way ticket to Sydney, Australia. She chose Australia so that she could be “the place farthest away that she could go to.” It was also one of the places that Edouard had taken her on a business trip of his.


In between flights, she had a chance to call her lawyer and givef instructions so that they could block any attempt by Edouard to recover the million euros he’d deposited in her account. Then, she took some anxiety meds and slept the entire flight to Sydney.


Well, she’s bound to be a little anxious, right? She is on the run for murder.


So she gets to Sydney and only spends maybe 24 hours there. Enough time for her to check into a hotel, and begin making phone calls. At this point, she claims wasn’t sure if Edouard was actually dead or not. She mailed the clothes she’d been wearing the day of the murder to her aunt and uncle in France, and she also told her husband to wash down the car she’d driven to and from Edouard’s house. She called Edouard’s half sister and acted shocked when the sister told her about the discovery of Edouard’s body.


It’s believed by the prosecution that Cecile thought it would look better if she returned home immediately from her trip, as that would make her seem less guilty. And it’s not like random first thing in the morning escapades halfway across the world could possibly make you look guilty at all.


So Cecil took another flight back to Switzerland. When she landed in Singapore for a connecting flight, she broke down into what was deemed a panic attack as she screamed hysterically and broke down in sobs when she saw that Edouard’s murder had made the front page of French newspapers.


A doctor came to examine her to see if she was still able to get on the connecting flight, and after determining that she was, she continued and landed in Zurich. As soon as she got through customs, the police were already waiting for her and she was brought to the station for questioning.


See, the police were immediately suspicious because Cecile was one of only a few people to have keys to his apartment, something they were looking into because the door had no signs of forced entry.


Both Cecile and her husband were interrogated, about their marital status, lawyers, and their account T.k hey were both also fingerprinted. Cecile was questioned for 9 hours longer than her husband, but ultimately was released because there wasn’t enough evidence to keep her that tied her to the murder.


But, they did tap her and her husband’s phones, as well as keeping Cecil as a person of interest and not allowing her any more out of the country trips.


Within a few days of releasing her, the police were able to trace the license plate of the vehicle caught on camera speeding away from Edouard’s apartment, and found that it was owned by Cecil’s husband. They used the fingerprints they had taken during their first interview and matched Cecile’s to the ones found the on the latex bodysuit Edouard was found in, and she was immediately taken in for arrest.


Cecile confessed and most of what she said was confirmed. She confessed to shooting Edouard 4 times in the face, stomach, chest, and head. She took investigators to the lake that she’d disposed of the murder weapon, and a team of divers were sent in and able to retrieve it.


She was subsequently taken to trial, and while i n court, she interrupted the proceedings to say that “My heart is full of remorse and pain. I have come to explain myself, not defend myself, and say how it happened. I know it was my fault. I want to tell them (his children) the truth, not destroy Edouard or dirty his name.”


To which the Stern family lawyer said, “If he was such a marvellous man, you shouldn’t have shot him.”


Cecile was 40 years old when she was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months in prison in 2009.In addition to her prison time, she was also to pay the children 1 swiss franc for “moral damage.”


She was released in November 2010, after having spent 5 years total in prison, 4 of which were while waiting for trial.