An Unsolved Crime Of Passion

He was over 60, short, fat and anything but handsome. She was only 25, beautiful, seductive and well aware of it. But anyone who wondered why Constance married Mr. Blau, had only to look at his beautiful house on the outskirts of Berlin, the servants, the lifestyle, elegant carriages and yachts. Blau was super rich and his wife, Constance admitted that she loved a luxurious life.


By 1905, the couple was married for five years and Constance was already bored of her hypochondriac, tedious husband who treated his imaginary ailments with a variety of pills and medicines, spending his days lying in a dark room. All of this restricted their social life, much to the annoyance of his wife who loved shopping, parties, yachting, races, dancing and elegant soirees, operas and ballets to which they were invited. She began to be escorted by other people, at first with couples and later, openly on the arms of eligible men.


One regular escort was Count Gerhart, a young, handsome nobleman with huge estates whose admiration for Constance grew into a passionate infatuation. Even Blau, preoccupied as he was with his health saw that the Count spent as much time in the Blau home as he did. Worse, his friends taunted him for being cuckolded. Blau asked the Count publicly if he was having an affair with his wife.

“Sir,” replied the Count, “I admire and respect you both so much to even think of it. Please forget this malicious gossip for the sake of your health or you’ll be sick with worry.”


That did it. Apparently reassured, Blau now actively encouraged the Count to accompany his wife everywhere. By 1906, they became lovers and spent several weeks at Constance’s aunt’s house in Sweden. The aunt warned her niece of the scandal she was causing, to which the niece replied that she was marrying the Count “sooner than you think” because “there are ways of doing things.”


A week later, Blau’s body was found in his own garden with the throat split. Nor was there a widow waiting to receive the corpse. Constance and the Count had disappeared but were caught by the police in France as they were about to board a steamer for England. In 1907, the pair appeared in the Berlin Court for the murder of Mr. Blau who, according to his wife, had “outlived his usefulness” as she bragged to her friends!


The Count pleaded not guilty, saying, “I had feelings for Constance and we did hope to marry but that was because of her husband’s ill-health and age. He was likely to die of natural causes. I would never resort to murder.”


Constance, dressed in black, wept uncontrollably in the witness-box on asked why she tried to escape with her lover. Her answer was, “Because we knew we would be blamed for the murder for my husband who I loved with all my heart.”


In summing up, the judge told the jury: “This has to remain an unsolved crime of passion since the lovers plead that they were the victims of an extraordinary coincidence viz. a murdered husband and the widow fleeing the scene with her lover. It is now up to the Jury to decide whether to accept this as a mere coincidence.” The police also were not able to solve mystery. The case was closed though everyone knew the truth and the newspapers screamed, “The Law is an ass.”


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