The Serpent: Jenna Coleman stars in BBC series trailer
Tahar Rahim portrays convicted French serial killer, robber and fraudster, Charles Sobhraj (played by Tahar Rahim) in The Serpent. In episode six, viewers learn more about Sobhraj’s background, including his first wife, Juliette. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know.
What happened to Charles Sobhraj’s first wife Juliette?
At the end of episode five of The Serpent, Charles, who is going by the name Alain Gautier, proposed to his accomplice, Monique, real name Marie Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman).
However, in episode six viewers learn in a flashback scene, Charles has been married before, to a French woman called Juilette.
Unfortunately, it is not known if Juilette actually existed in real life, however, it is possible Juilette is based on Charles’ first wife, Chantal Compagnon.
Charles and Chantal met in the late 1960s. Paris-born Chantal, who was 24-years-old at the time and came from a conservative family.
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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 and later sentenced to eight months in 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.
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.
However, in 2003, Chantal attempted to help Charles appeal against his double-murder conviction.
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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 the Serpent, the relationship with Charles and his first wife Juliette plays out a little differently, but there are also stark similarities between the two stories.
In The Serpent, Juilette and Charles moved to India with their young daughter Madhu but unfortunately, their relationship fell apart after Charles disappeared for weeks and was arrested for robbing jewels from a luxury Indian hotel.
After faking appendicitis and escaping from prison, he convinced Juilette to go on the run with them but they were quickly caught by the police who were giving chase.
Juliette was released from custody instantly and divorced her husband and he stood handcuffed behind bars.
The separation is portrayed as having a lasting, damaging impact on Charles and throughout the series, he is seen planning his return to Paris.
When he and Monique arrive in France, Charles tracks down his ex-wife and his daughter and the pair have a tense conversation.
Charles insisted he could give Juilette and the daughter the life he had always promised him, but unfortunately, the conversation ended with Juilette begging Charles to leave her apartment.
However, when Charles demanded she tell him that she no longer loved him, Juilette is not seen giving an answer.
In a twist in events, in 1997 Charles returned to France for a second time, Juilette is seen congratulating him for his media interviews and kissing him on the cheek, suggesting they got back together.
The real Charles did return to France in 1997 and did promote his infamy to press in Paris and is believed to have reunited with his first wife Chantal.
Speaking to GQ in 2014, Sobhraj 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 Bikini Murders author Farrukh Dhondy told GQ, Chantal had explained 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.
Where is Charles Sobhraj’s first wife now?
Unfortunately, very little is known about Charles Sobhraj’s first wife, Chantal Compagnon.
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 and airs every Sunday on BBC One
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