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Charles Sobhraj, Better Known As ‘The Serpent’ Serial Killer, To Face Interrogation Over Murders He Was Never Tried For In Channel 4 Documentary

EXCLUSIVE: The now-released serial killer known as The Serpent, who was played with aplomb by Tahar Rahim in the eponymous mini-series, is to appear in a Channel 4 documentary where he will face psychological and criminal interrogations over murders he was never tried for.

French national Charles Sobhraj, so nicknamed because of his snake-like ability to seduce his victims and cheat justice, was released from a Nepali prison in 2022 after nearly 20 years. He was convicted of two killings but admitted to 10 murders in 1977, only to later withdraw the confessions. He is suspected of many more murders, but has never been tried for the majority of them, leaving the families of the victims with no closure or accountability.

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In Channel 4’s The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer from Monster Films, Sobhraj voluntarily puts himself forward for hours of interviews with forensic psychologist Paul Britton, mainly focused on five widely covered killings in Thailand in 1975. Former Metropolitan Police detectives Jackie Malton and Gary Copson will re-examine the murders and interview key protagonists and witnesses, in order to challenge Sobhraj’s claims that he did not kill anyone and to try to discover the truth about the crimes.

Sobhraj, who preyed on Western tourists travelling on the hippie trail of India, Nepal and Thailand in the 70s, admits to more than 100 instances of drugging and theft. He confessed to 10 murders in 1977 for a book released in 1979 but later withdrew the confessions.

Sobhraj was played by Napoleon star Rahim in critically-acclaimed Netflix/BBC mini-series The Serpent, which also featured Jenna Coleman and Billy Howle and showed how Sobhraj was able to get away with his crimes, for a while, on the hippie trail.

Shaminder Nahal, Commissioning Editor and Head of Specialist Factual at Channel 4, said: “In the 70s, thousands of young people flocked to Asia to have adventures and learn about the world. Some of them ended up dead because of Charles Sobhraj. Today he is a free man, never having stood trial for many of the murders he is linked to. The big questions underpinning the series are whether fifty years on, there is any hope of getting to the truth of these historic crimes and to get some accountability for the victims and their families. And how it is possible that a man believed to be one of the 20th century’s most devious and ruthless serial killers, is no longer in prison.”

David Howard is directing, EP is Chris Shaw and Rik Hall is series producing. Abacus Media Rights is selling The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer.

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