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The Serpent launched BBC One on New Year’s Day and has finally arrived onNetflix. The eight-part series recounts the chilling crimes committed by serial killer Charles Sobhraj. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know about Sobhraj’s right-hand-woman Marie-Andrée Leclerc.
What happened to Marie-Andrée Leclerc?
Marie-Andrée Leclerc met French criminal Charles Sobhraj in Kashmir in 1975.
Leclerc was a medical secretary from Levis, Quebec and like many others, embarked on the Hippie Trail in the spring of 1975.
She returned to Asia again in July 1975, meeting Sobhraj for the second time in Thailand and fell head over heels in love with him.
Leclerc soon became his main accomplice in many of his scams but had denied being aware of any killings.
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The pair soon became the main suspects in more than 20 murders between 1975 and 1976 in South East Asia.
In July 1976 in New Delhi, Sobhraj and Leclerc alongside Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather tricked a group of French students into accepting them as tour guides.
Sobhraj then drugged the group, which took effect faster than anticipated and when some of the students realised what was happening to their peers, they overpowered Sobhraj and called the police.
Two years later, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison in India alongside Leclerc.
She denied taking part in any of Sobhraj’s crimes and insisted she was under the influence of Sobhraj’s control.
Whilst incarcerated, she was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer. As a result, the Indian Supreme Court ruled she could return to Canada.
She died on April 20, 1984. She was 38-years-old.
Very little is known about Leclerc and her crimes still today. Express.co.uk will update this article when more information is available.
Leclerc’s story was the subject of the best-seller Serpentine by Thomas Thompson where she was portrayed as an involuntary accomplice.
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Up until her death, Leclerc maintained her innocence.
In her diaries, she maintained Sobhraj had control over her by withholding her passport and money.
Speaking about taking on the role of Leclerc with the Daily Mail, Victoria star Jenna Colman said: “I was totally hooked by the writing from the beginning.
“It intoxicated me and drew me into the dark, seductive world of Charles Sobhraj.
“I also read Richard Neville and Julie Clarke’s book On The Trail Of The Serpent, and Marie-Andrée’s own diary, as well as all this amazing research material from the real-life photographs to the newspaper cuttings.
“From the diary entries, I read how she met Charles and how the drugging of tourists began.
“She was a young girl who’d not really left Canada before, yet within a month of meeting this man she was on a journey of death and devastation with him.
“It’s amazing how this happened in such a short time and it shows you his potency, the power he could wield over people. I was totally engrossed.”
The Serpent is streaming on BBC iPlayer and Netflix now
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