20 years later, “The Serpent” is free and back in France

The terrifying story of serial killer Charles Sobhraj yielded one of Netflix’s praised series, The Serpent. Nominated for awards in 2021, the series is inspired by the crimes of the man who was known in Thailand as the “bikini killer” and also as the “Serpent”, he is accused of having killed more than 20 western backpackers on the “hippie trail” through Asia in the 1970s and 1980s. He was arrested in Nepal almost 20 years ago and today, Eve won his freedom and returned to France. At the age of 78, Charles, who is a French citizen, won a pardon from the Supreme Court of Nepal because of his advanced age and health.

As we saw in the Netflix series, Charles was the son of an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother, living on scams and robberies to survive. He acted with a girlfriend, the Canadian Marie-Andrée Leclerc, and was arrested thanks to a couple of German diplomats who suspected him. I interviewed the real Angela Kane about the truths and alterations of the series starring Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman, which also had Fabien Frankel, from House of the Dragon, and Alice Englert, from Dangerous Liaisons, in the cast.

Charles Sobrahj‘s crimes allegedly began in the 1970s, when he allegedly murdered six women, some of whom appeared dead on a beach near the resort of Pattaya (one identified only by her bikini, hence the name “bikini killer”). He was later arrested in India for poisoning a group of French tourists in the capital, New Delhi, in 1976, but fled to Thailand before trial. There, he was detained in a high-security prison after being accused of murdering American backpacker Connie Jo Bronzich 28 years earlier. He was also found guilty of killing Bronzich’s Canadian friend Laurent Carriere, so since 2003, he has served 19 years of a 20-year sentence.

Marie-Andrée Leclerc died of cancer in 1984. Charles insists that he is innocent of the murder of the American and the Canadian, and as soon as he arrived in Paris this morning, he declared that he would sue the Thai Government and whoever accused him of the crimes. “I have a lot to do. I have to sue a lot of people,” he said.

Time to rewatch the series!

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