CHARLES Sobhraj is a serial killer who murdered hippies during the 1970s.
His crimes led to him being dubbed the Bikini Killer.
Charles Sobhraj, portrayed here by Tahar Rahim, became known as the Bikini KillerCredit: BBC
Why was Charles Sobhraj called the Bikini Killer?
Charles Sobhraj is a French serial killer who earned the nickname the Bikini Killer.
He was called this because many of his victims were found dead in their bikinis.
The attire of the murdered tourists led to the killings being sometimes referred to as the Bikini Murders.
He was also branded The Serpent, a nickname used as the title for BBC One’s new drama, due to his ability to ‘slither’ away from the police.
Charles is believed to have psychopathy.
Real images of Charles Sobhraj
How many people did Charles Sobhraj kill?
The exact number of murders committed by Charles is unknown, but it’s thought to be at most 24.
Charles killed hippies and tourists in Nepal, India and Thailand, and often then took their money and passports.
He was noted as having a strong dislike of hippie culture.
He coerced people into helping him with his crimes, most notably Marie-Andree Leclerc who denied knowledge of his murders despite many doubting the possibility of this.
Charles once said on his gift for coercing women: “If you use it to make people do wrong it’s an abuse. However, if you use that power to make people do right, it’s OK. Who’s to say what’s right and wrong?”
Charles Sobhraj and his girlfriend-come-accomplice, Marie-Andree Leclerc
Where is Charles Sobhraj now?
After being released from prison in India in 1997 (though he escaped more than once during his sentence), he was allowed to return to France.
It’s believed that he made escapes in order to get more prison time.
He was wanted in Thailand for five murders which would have likely led to him receiving the death penalty, but by remaining in prison he passed the 20 year time-frame for which this could have taken place.
Notoriously once back in France, he began charging obscene amounts for interviews and pictures which allegedly allowed him to amass wealth.
He’s been the subject of multiple films and books, as well as BBC’s new drama series.
In 2003 he was arrested again after reportedly using a false passport and for murdering a Canadian man and an American woman 28 years previous.
Police said they had a “suitcase full” of evidence to prove the charges.
In 2004 he was given life imprisonment.
Today he is 76 years old and is serving his sentence in Nepal.
When is The Serpent on TV?
The Serpent is a new eight-part BBC One drama.
It begins TONIGHT (January 1) at 9pm and will chronicle the crimes of Charles Sobhraj.
Episodes can be watched on BBC iPlayer too.