Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crime Passionnel

The Cuckold and the Lover

Comic relief was provided by Leon Perreau, husband of the mistress. As Perreau gallivanted into court with head held high, some in the crowd made hand gestures indicating hornsthe taunt of a cuckolded husband.

Perreau displayed a calm self-assurance.

He testified that he was quite fond of Pierre Chevallier, that he knew of the affair and deemed the war hero worthy of his wifes affection. He went so far as to say that Chevallier was his favorite among his wife's lovers. He bragged that he had run off her previous paramour, whom he dismissed as a Lothario.

But Chevallier was different, Perreau said.

To peals of laughter, the businessman added, "It may seem strange, but I found him more likable. I got on with him very well."

His wife followed Leon Perreau on the stand.

Jeanne Perreau glided into court as though it were a movie set, her curled red tresses cascading from beneath a seductive black beret.

Mrs. Perreau, 34, was proud and unflappable, despite frequent hissing from the gallery.

She gave her basic biographical informationage, marital status, address. When Mrs. Chevalliers lawyer asked about employment, Mrs. Perreau replied she was of no profession, an odd phrase that sent tongues clucking in the courtroom.

In response to questions, she said the affair had begun in May 1950 and had continued to the day of the slaying, 15 months later. Mrs. Perreau said the lovers rendezvoused in Paris two or three times a week. 

When asked whether she was ashamed of her affaira married mother of three young children, after all--the woman firmly replied, "Not at all."

She said she felt pity for Mrs. Chevallier, but that she felt deep affection for Pierre and did not plan to end the affair, even after she was confronted by the woman.

The defense attorney thundered, Your place is in the dock! The audience whooped in agreement, and Judge Jadin threatened to clear the courtroom.

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