Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Risqué Management: The Murder of Edouard Stern

The Fateful Encounter

Cécile and Edouard were introduced by a couple of art gallery owners over dinner at an upscale restaurant in Paris in 2001. Some reports maintain that Edouard became enamored of Cécile's sexual talents, particularly as a dominatrix, while others claim instead he took more of an interest in Cécile's artistic side, evinced by his hiring her to redecorate his apartment in Geneva.

They were in some sense a couple, but the true nature of their relationship remains a mystery. Cécile was seen with Edouard at restaurants and social events over the course of the next few years. It was assumed by many that she was one of Edouard's more regular paramours and nothing more. To Edouard's wealthy circle of friends, colleagues, and at least one family member, Cécile seemed quiet and reserved, and did not leave much of an impression, either good or bad.

Edouard also brought Cécile along on trips abroad, to such far-flung places as Siberia and Australia. He once invited her along on a trip to a private African game preserve to hunt big game. There Edouard introduced Cécile to the thrill he got shooting wild animals with the high-powered guns of which he was an avid collector.

Pascal Maurer, Cécile's lawyer
Pascal Maurer, Cécile's lawyer
After his murder, it was later reported that Edouard was on occasion at Cecile's house in Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and elsewhere for gatherings with others involving fetishism. The French tabloid press speculated that Cécile offered Edouard psychological freedom from his hyperkinetic, frenzied pace as an international financier, from his own domineering and controlling personality, and from all the constraints and pressures that otherwise consumed him.

But while there was much speculation about the sadomasochistic nature of their relationship, the couple had more traditional sexual relations like any couple otherwise would, Cécile's lawyer, told truTV.

"The much publicized sexual aspects of the relationship were really just one small part of the equation and were not very important. She adored him--and continues to adore him--while he loved her in his own way," Maurer said. "Their relationship was passionate, difficult, and complicated, but there was a lot of love as well."

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