Marie-Andrée Leclerc was a Canadian nurse who became popular as the main accomplice of French serial killer, fraudster, and thief Charles Sobhraj.
Marie-Andrée Leclerc was born on Friday, October 26, 1945 (age 38 years at the time of death), in the Saint-Charles-de-Bellechasse village of Canada. After she completed her formal education in Quebec City, Québec province, Canada, she was employed as a medical secretary at a clinic in Levis, Québec, Canada.
Eye Color: Green-Blue
Hair Color: Brown
Family, Ethnicity & Relationships
She is of French descent. Telegraph There is no information about her parents or siblings. When she was working as a medical secretary in Levis, she was in a troubled relationship with a married doctor. To clear her mind off things, she set out for India, where she met a man named Alain Gauthier in Kashmir; Alain Gauthier introduced himself as a photojournalist in Paris Match magazine. In reality, Alain Gauthier was none other than Charles Sobhraj, the trickster and thief who was in process of conning her. Soon, Alain became her guide, and Marie found herself enchanted by him. By the end of the trip, Charles urged Marie to return to Asia to see him. As soon as she reached Levis, she began receiving love letters and calls from Charles, which chronicled Charles’ intention of love and marriage to Marie.
Charles also sent Marie a plane ticket to Thailand, suggesting that she comes to see him. In June 1975, Marie abandoned her boyfriend and job and left for Thailand.
Murders in Thailand
After Marie came to Charles, she became a member of his clan and Charles’ hand puppet; she involved herself in the activities of the clan. Charles used to scam people by posing as a drug dealer or gemstone seller. In Thailand, Charles built his clan by becoming a problem solver for the tourists. When he thought that they were under his spell, he would rip them off their money and passport. Dominique Renelleau, a man who became one with the clan after he was provided shelter by Charles to cure his illness, recalled that he fell ill after consuming a potion Marie gave him.
Charles committed some of his first known murders in the fall of 1975, most of them were his followers (or clan members) who threatened to expose Charles. On October 15, 1975, Teresa Knowlton, a Seattle woman, was his first victim who was found drowned on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand near Pattaya City; she was wearing a floral bikini).
Before the release of autopsy reports that showed that she was murdered, Teresa’s death was believed to be the case of accidental drowning.
Most of Charles’ murders happened reportedly in presence of Marie. Some of his other murder victims after Teresa Knowlton were,
- Vitali Hakim, a Turkish man whose body was found burnt on the road to Pattaya Resort, where Charles and his clan were staying.
- Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker, a Dutch couple who was lured to Charles’ den after they were poisoned by Charles. Sometime after Vitali Hakim’s death, his girlfriend, Charmayne Carrou, came to interrogate her boyfriend’s disappearance at Charles’ base and threatened Charles Sobhraj of exposure to his crimes. In the fear of getting exposed, Charles murdered Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker by strangling and burning them on December 16, 1975.
- Charmayne Carrou, a Frenchwoman who was soon found drowned in the same condition as Teresa Knowlton after Bintaja and Hemkar’s body was found.
On December 18, 1975, Marie and Sobhraj used Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker’s passports to flee Thailand and enter Nepal.
Murders in Nepal & India
In Kathmandu, Nepal, Charles Sobhraj murdered Canadian Laurent Carrière and American Connie Bronzic (also, Laddie DuParr and Annabella Tremont, according to some sources) between December 21 and 22 in 1975 in Kathmandu. The dead bodies of Laurent and Connie were found in a field near Kathmandu.
On the passports of Laurent and Connie, Marie and Charles found their way back to Thailand, where they had to flee again because a few of his followers began suspecting him. They fled to Bombay in India and gained Israeli scholar Avoni Jacob’s passport by murdering him. With Jacob’s passport, Charles and Marie (accompanied by Charles’ right-hand Ajay Chowdhury) first went to Singapore, then to India, returned to Thailand (in March 1976), and then fled to Malaysia. In Malaysia, Charles sent Ajay Chowdhury to collect gems. Ajay was seen last time handing gems to Charles and his remains were never found.
After Malayasia, Marie and Charles came back to Bombay, India, where they were joined by Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather in their crime.
In India, they killed Jean-Luc Solomon, a Frenchman who was poisoned during a robbery and left to die. In July 1976, they tricked a group of French postgraduate students into their hotel room in Delhi and drugged them. However, during their operation, three of the students grew suspicious of them and reported to the police. Marie, Charles, and the other two women were arrested by the Delhi Police on the same day.
Imprisonment & Trial
During the police interrogation, Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather confessed their crimes. The four were sent to Tihar Jail, Delhi, Marie being accused of her involvement in the murder of Jean-Luc Salomon and Avoni Jacob. In the trial of Jean-Luc Salomon on July 28, 1978, Marie was acquitted of murdering Jean-Luc but had to stay in prison for the trial of Avoni Jacob. To the end, Mary denied Charles’ crime in murdering Jean-Luc and protested after he was convicted of his murder. During Avoni Jacob’s murder trial, she was convicted of murdering Avoni and drugging students and received twelve years of imprisonment sentence. She appealed to the judgment and was paroled but forbidden to leave the country. After she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July 1983, she was allowed to return to Canada on a condition that she would have to report to the High Commission of India in Ottawa once every three months. She was also ordered to return to India for trials if her health would allow her.
After getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1983, she left for Canada to receive treatment. At the age of 38, on Friday, April 20, 1984, she passed away due to cancer at Hotel Dieu Hospital of Lévis.
- To obscure her identity, she often used the moniker ‘Monique.’ Bustle
- Charles had a stronghold over the guards in jail during their (Marie and Charles) imprisonment in India. Due to Charles’ power, Marie was permitted to meet Charles once a week to have sex with him.
- In 1983, Marie chronicled her part of the story in a book titled ‘Je Reviens.’ In the book, she denied her involvement in the crimes of Charles and claimed to be a victim of Sobhraj’s conspiracy. She even claimed that she was never romantically involved with Charles.
- Marie made several claims denying her involvement with Charles Sobhraj, it has been widely debated whether she was just a pawn or an accomplice. Huguette Laprise, La Presse journalist who traveled Asia three times for Charles’ and Marie’s story. Initially, she came to Asia in sympathy with Marie but soon came to the conclusion,
You can not be in an apartment and there are people who are chained in your apartment without seeing them. After all these years, what I can say is that this girl had a very very sad, abominable destiny.
- In 2004, she was featured in the American TV documentary ‘Interpol Investigates The Serpent,’ where her archived interview was presented.
- In 2021, Marie was featured as a lead character in the British TV series ‘The Serpent,’ which is based on the life of Charles Sobhraj and released on Netflix and BBC One. Her role in the series was played by the English actress Jenna Coleman.
References [ + ]