What happened to Marie-Andrée Leclerc? The Serpent explores her connection to the real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj.

A new year of television has officially begun and the BBC helped kick things off with The Serpent on New Year’s Day.

Written by Richard Warlow, Toby Finlay and developed by Mammoth Screen, this eight-episode mini-series tells the tale of serial killer Charles Sobhraj (played by Tahar Rahim).

As noted by iNews, he was responsible for a string of murders across Asia back in the 1970s and was accompanied by Marie-Andrée Leclerc.

Looking back on the history of Charles’ accomplice, Marie-Andrée was born in Quebec in 1945, going on to become a medical secretary. However, she crossed paths with Charles in 1975 when travelling to India.

After sharing a correspondence, she met him in Bangkok three months later and the pair, in love, began carrying out a range of crimes to steal money from tourists.

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The Serpent presents a dramatisation of these events, but what exactly happened to Marie-Andrée Leclerc?

The Serpent (BBC One, Living Films et al.)

What happened to Marie-Andrée Leclerc?

  • Marie-Andrée Leclerc was convicted of murder along with Charles Sobhraj in 1980. She later appealed and was released, claiming she was under control and had no knowledge of the crimes, although she was unable to leave India. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1983, she was then allowed to return to Canada, where she died at the age of 38 on April 20th, 1984.

Exploring the reasons behind the murder conviction, iNews notes that Charles teamed up with Ajay Chowdhury in 1975 and the two orchestrated the murder of Teresa Knowlton from Seattle.

Marie-Andrée denied having any knowledge of the murders, but Dominique Veylau – one of the victims – had spent months with the couple before a potion she had been given by Marie-Andrée made them ill. A victim had also said of Marie-Andrée’s potential involvement: “She had to know about it. Anyone with eyes and ears could see what was going on in this apartment.”

Additionally, it’s noted that she used the passport of a murder victim to travel to Nepal.

When in New Delhi in 1976, she, Charles and two others – Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather – convinced a group of French students that they were tour guides, proceeding to drug them. Yet, after realising the danger looming, they defended themselves against the group and notified the authorities.

The four of them were taken to prison and both Marie-Andrée and Charles received a 12-year sentence.

Who played Marie-Andrée Leclerc in The Serpent?

She is played by 34-year-old English actress Jenna Coleman.

Audiences may recognise her from the 2016 series Victoria (she played the titular role), while she has also starred in such films as Me Before You (Katrina “Treena” Clark) and Captain America: The First Avenger (Connie).

Other TV work includes The Cry (Joanna Lindsay) and Death Comes to Pemberley (Lydia Wickham).

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