Chantal Compagnon is a Frenchwoman who is known for being the first wife of French serial killer and trickster Charles Sobhraj.
Wiki/Biography & Family
Chantal & Charles
In 1969, she went to a party, where she met Charles who introduced himself as a wealthy man from Saigon and told her of his adventures in the Orient and Dakar. When he began dating Chantal, he was in a relationship with Chantal Desnoyers. Charles later broke up with Chantal Desnoyers to be with Compagnon. After a brief period of dating, Chantal was proposed to by Charles, and the same day he was arrested on charges of car theft. Initially, Chantal’s parents disapproved of Charles. Later, her parents accepted their relationship after Charles displayed his wealth that he had racked up by carrying out a series of scams. Upon Charles’ release from prison eight months later, they both got married.
In 1970, the couple fled France for Asia using fake documents, fearing Sobhraj’s arrest by the French authorities; Chantal was pregnant at that time. Along the way, Chantal accompanied Charles in looting tourists. In 1970, the couple reached Mumbai, India, where they decided to start a new chapter by leaving criminal activities. Chantal Compagnon and Charles became parents to a girl named Usha Sobhraj, who was later sent to live with Chantal’s parents. Charles, who was long lost in the realm of crime, associated himself with car theft and smuggling enterprises. In 1971, the couple fled to Kabul with their daughter at Chantal’s parental home in Paris. In Kabul, Charles got acquainted with weapon smugglers. Chantal, blinded by her love for Charles, fled from place to place with Charles, accompanying him in robbing the travelers on the hippie trail between Europe and Eastern Asia. In 1973, after Charles conducted an unsuccessful armed robbery at a jewelry store at Hotel Ashoka, Delhi, he was arrested and imprisoned at Tihar Prison in Delhi. After a fortnight, Charles faked appendicitis and was moved to a hospital, and Chantal drugged the guards, helping him escape. The couple then moved to Kabul, where he conducted other robberies and was arrested by the Afgan police and imprisoned. Charles somehow fled the prison and went to France, where he kidnapped his daughter (Usha) and returned to Afgan to free Chantal. However, he was captured while trying to do so. After the couple was bailed out by Charles’ father, Charles left for Iran, leaving Chantal and his daughter in Kabul. This left a huge impact on Chantal, who returned to France and vowed to never see Charles again.
- From his relationship with Chantal Desnoyers, Charles had two children, a boy named Pranck and a girl named Muriel Anouk. Muriel Anouk was born the day Charles and Compagnon got married.
- According to GQ magazine, stranded in Kabul with her daughter, Chantal met an American. She got married to an American and moved with her daughter to his house in the US. Charles, while talking with GQ, claimed that Chantal left her husband to be with him after she heard of his return to France in 1997.
- In a meeting with the India-born British writer Farrukh Dhondy, once an acquaintance of Charles, Chantal claimed that Sobhraj had admitted all the murders to her and had described them in detail. In an interview, Dhondy shared his conversation with Chantal and said,
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.'”
- After Charles was convicted of his murders in Nepal and sentenced to life imprisonment, Chantal reached out to the European Court of Human Rights and filed a case against the French government for refusing to aid Charles in 2003.
- In 2021, BBC One and Netflix came together to produce a series titled ‘The Serpent’ on the life of Charles Sobhraj. In the series, Chantal’s character, renamed ‘Juliette Voclain,’ was portrayed by the English-French actress Stacy Martin.