The Serpent: Jenna Coleman stars in BBC series trailer
The Serpent is the latest true-crime drama on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The eight-part series tells the story of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, played by Tahar Rahim. In episode five, viewers are introduced to Charles wife Juilette but who was Charles Sobhraj married too in real life? Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
Who was Charles Sobhraj married too in real life?
In The Serpent on BBC, French serial killer, thief and fraudster Charles Sobhraj (played by Tahar Rahim) is going by the name Alain Gautier.
His accomplice, Marie-Andrée Leclerc (played by Jenna Coleman) is known as Monique and introduced herself to Charles victims and friends as Monique.
In episode five, viewers learn Charles was previously married to a French woman named Juliette.
The couple had a young daughter together Madhu and lived in India.
READ MORE The Serpent: What happened to Charles Sobhraj’s first wife ‘Juliette’?
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In the series, Juilette divorces Charles after he was arrested for robbing jewels from a luxury Indian hotel.
However, the pair reunited in 1997 after Charles was released from an Indian prison.
They are believed to have stayed together until Charles returned to Nepal in 2003 where he was arrested.
The real Charles Sobhraj was arrested in September 2003 and sentenced to life imprisoned by t by the Kathmandu district court on 20 August 2004 for the murders of Connie Bronzich,29, and Laurent Carrière, 26.
Juliette in the series is believed to be based on Charles Sobhraj’s first wife, Chantal Compagnon.
Charles and Chantal met in the late 1960s. Paris-born Chantal was 24-years-old when they and came from a conservative family.
After a brief period of dating, Charles proposed to Chantal but on the same day, he was arrested for attempting to evade police while driving a stolen vehicle. He was later sentenced to eight months in a French prison.
Chantal and Charles stayed together during his incarceration and wed upon his release.
In 1970, the couple left France to Asia and travelled through Eastern Europe on fake documents before arriving in Mumbai.
In Mumbai, Chantal gave birth to their baby daughter, Usha.
As seen in The Serpent In 1973, Charles was arrested and imprisoned after robbing the jewellery store at Hotel Ashoka in New Delhi.
He was able to escape by faking an illness but was recaptured by the police.
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After borrowing money from his father to meet bail, Chantal and Charles fled to Kabul and began to rob tourists along the Hippie Trail.
They were caught once again and just as before, Charles was able to escape by faking an illness.
While Charles fled to Iran, his wife Chantal returned to France and vowed never to see him again but the pair still remained married.
Whether they rekindled their marriage as seen through Juliette in The Serpent remains unknown.
The Bikini Murders author Farrukh Dhondy told GQ, Chantal explained to him she decided to go back to because she loved him, despite him apparently admitting the murders to him.
He said: “She said he did them all. Sobhraj took her to the border of France and Switzerland when she came back for him and forced her to sell some land she had inherited.
“She got about £40,000. He took it, got into the car, drove to Holland and gambled it all away. Every cent. I asked her why she came back to him, and she said ‘I love him.'”
He told GQ, he and Chantal continued to see each other until 2011.
However, in 2003, Chantal attempted to help Charles appeal against his double-murder conviction.
She filed a case before the European Court of Human Rights against the French government for refusing to provide him with any assistance in his first trial.
Charles conviction was upheld by the Patan Court of Appeals in 2005.
In 2014 he was also convicted of the murder of Laurent Carrière and received another sentence.
Charles is believed to have married twice since Chantal.
Speaking to GQ in 2014, Sobhraj spoke about his reunion with Chantal in France in 1997.
He said “She left her husband and came back to Paris when she heard that I was back.
“I was still in love with Chantal, but I was with my Chinese wife who was pregnant, so I told Chantal, ‘I can’t be with you.'”
The identity of Charles’s second wife remains unknown.
The India Times reported in 2015, Sobhraj was married to his lawyer’s daughter, Nihita Biswas but Nepalese authorities have denied the marriage took place
Speaking to the Guardian, Biswas said she did not believe her husband was a killer.
She said: “Everyone has good and bad sides. Even bad deeds with good intentions can be good deeds.”
The Serpent is streaming on the BBC iPlayer now and airs every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One
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