(Photo used by permission of BlueStar Forensic)
Extra-marital affairs are accepted in France. Wives and husband who indulge in them are even admired. It means that a woman, though married and probably a mother, is still attractive and desirable to the male of the species, and that despite marriage and fatherhood a man remains virile. Yet, occasionally, a spouse will cry “Stop!” and when the philandering continues, the result can be foul murder.
On Wednesday, February 25, 2004, early in the morning, Florence Bourgade dialed the telephone number of her sister.
|Yves and Florence|
The sun was shining but it was bitterly cold – just 42° F – in Moigny-sur-École in the Department of Essonne, 36 miles south of Paris, and the 42-year-old’s news was as chilling. Her husband, Yves, 44, had only got back home in the early hours of that morning after a night of drinking and he’s being very abusive verbally and she did not want their children to witness such behavior. Could she therefore send them over for a couple of days? The next-door neighbor would be dropping them off on her way to work. It was the February school vacation.
That call was not the first that Florence made that morning.
Her first call had been at 6:45 a.m. She had called her husband’s employee to say that he would not be in that day. Her husband was a self-employed mason. “Yves has blown a fuse. He has left,” she told the man. What she had said in French was Yves a pétée les plombs for which “blowing a fuse” is a polite translation.
At 7 a.m. she had made a second call. She had called her neighbor to ask if she could bring over the children for her to look after for that day. “She wanted me to take the children, but I had to go to work which I told her,” the neighbor would later testify to the police.
Fifteen minutes later Florence had made yet again another call. She had again called her neighbor to ask if she could, on her way to work, drop the children off at her sister’s house. The neighbor had replied that she could do that, yes.
Florence’s sister lived 10 miles away in the town of Barbizon, so, as the neighbor had to go in that direction, dropping the children off would not make her late for work, but, all the same, within 15 minutes she was at the Bourgade house. The three children, two boys and a girl, aged respectively 12, 10 and 5, were still in bed and were told to get dressed immediately and quickly.
“I understood that Yves was not well,” the neighbor would also later say in her testimony. “I thought of the alcohol.”
She knew that Yves Bourgade drank. In 2004 there were only about 500 houses in Moigny-sur-École and not even 1,500 people lived there, so it was not easy to hide that a spouse habitually returned home in the early hours of the morning and in an inebriated state.
Florence’s family and friends, although they did not live in the village, were also aware of the drinking. They also knew that Yves was a womanizer. And it had not been necessary to stick their noses into the couple’s life to have known about the women because Yves bragged about his exploits. He even made it his dinner conversation. He did not appear to care that his wife was at the table tending to their guests for whom she had prepared a splendid meal.
The two had been married since 1997 but they had been partners for more than 14 years and Yves had not ever been faithful.