Marie-Andrée Leclerc was a Canadian nurse. She was 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. Her zodiac sign is Scorpio. She studied in Quebec City, Québec province, Canada, and became a medical secretary at a clinic in Levis, Québec, Canada.
Eye Color: Green-Blue
Hair Color: Brown
Family, Ethnicity & Relationships
She had a French origin. Nothing is known about her parents or siblings. When she was living a life as a medical secretary in Levis, she was in an on-and-off relationship with a married doctor. For a change of air, she went to Kashmir in India, where she met Alain Gauthier, a man who introduced himself as a photojournalist in Paris Match magazine. Alain Gauthier was, in reality, Charles Sobhraj, a serial killer & fraudster, with whom she fell in love during her trip. Charles became a guide to Marie in India, and by the end of her trip, Charles made Marie promise about returning to Asia to see him.
After she returned to Levis, she received love letters and calls from Charles in which he told her that he loved her and wanted to marry her, urging Marie to come to him in Bangkok. She left her boyfriend and job, and in June 1975, she left for Thailand on the plane ticket sent by Charles.
Spellbound by Charles, Marie became a follower and a puppet in Charle’s hands and began accompanying him in his scams. Charles stole the money and passports of the tourists in Thailand by posing as a gem salesman or drug dealer. One other scam that Charles pulled was building his followers by helping people out of difficult situations. One such man named Dominique Renelleau, who later became one with Charles’ clan, recollected that he fell ill by the potion Marie gave him; Dominique was provided shelter by Charles and stayed with Charles and his clan for months.
In the fall of 1975, Charles committed his first known murders, most of them were his accomplices who threatened Charles of exposing his crime. His first victim was a Seattle woman named Teresa Knowlton, who was found drowned (wearing a flowered bikini) on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand near Pattaya City on October 15, 1975. Teresa’s death was believed to be accidental drowning while swimming until the autopsy reports proved that she was murdered.
A few of his victims after Teresa Knowlton were,
- A Turk man named Vitali Hakim whose burnt body was found on the road to Pattaya Resort, where Charles and his clan were staying.
- A Dutch couple named Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker, who was lured to Thailand, poisoned, and brought to Charles Shobhraj’s clan for the cure. Charmayne Carrou, the girlfriend of Vitali Hakim, came to investigate his boyfriend’s disappearance and threatened to expose Charles, Charles murdered Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker due to fear of being exposed. On December 16, 1975, they were found strangled and burned.
- Charmayne Carrou, a Frenchwoman and girlfriend of Vitali Hakim, was soon found drowned in the same condition as Teresa Knowlton.
On December 18, 1975, Marie and Sobhraj used the deceased (Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker) passports and entered Nepal.
Nepal & India Murders
Between December 21 and 22 in 1975 in Kathmandu, Sobhraj murdered Canadian Laurent Carrière and American Connie Bronzich, also identified as Laddie DuParr and Annabella Tremont in some sources. Laurent and Connie’s bodies were found in a field near the Nepalese capital.
Marie and Charles then returned to Thailand on the passport of Laurent Carrière and Connie Bronzich. In Thailand, after Charles was suspected of murder by a few of his companions, Marie and Charles fled to Bombay, where they murdered Israeli scholar Avoni Jacob to obtain his passport. Having obtained Jacob’s passport, Marie and Charles first went to Singapore, then to India, returning to Thailand in March 1976. Marie next went to Malaysia with Charles and his right hand Ajay Chowdhury. In Malaysia, Ajay was sent to collect gems; Ajay was seen giving gems to Charles, which was the last time Ajay was spotted and his remains were not found.
Back in India, Marie and Charles were joined by Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather in their crime in Bombay. Later, Charles with his three-women gang attacked a Frenchman named Jean-Luc Solomon, who was poisoned during a robbery and left to die.
In July 1976, Marie, Charles, and his two accomplices were arrested by the Delhi Police after three French post-graduate students (part of a group) reported them during one of their operations to rob the group.
Imprisonment & Trial
After being captured by the Police, Marie, Charles, and the other two women were interrogated. During interrogation, Barbara and Ellen confessed their crimes and were sent to Tihar Jail in Delhi. Marie was accused of being involved in the murder of Jean-Luc Salomon and Avoni Jacob, two murders that took place in India. On July 28, 1978, she was acquitted of murdering Jean-Luc but was told to remain in prison because Jacob’s murder trial was pending. During Jean-Luc Salomon’s murder trials, she supported Charles Sobhraj and protested after he was convicted of the murder. Marie and Charles were convicted of the murders of Avoni Jacob and Marie was found guilty of drugging students; she was sentenced to twelve years in prison. She appealed to the judgment and was released immediately but denied leaving the country. She was later allowed to return to Canada.
In July 1983, while on parole, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given permission to leave for Canada on the condition that she reported the High Commission of India in Ottawa once every three months and returns to India for her trials as long as her health permits. On April 20, 1984, aged 38, she died of cancer at Hotel Dieu Hospital of Lévis.
- Marie often used the name ‘Monique.’
- It is reported that during the early years of imprisonment, she was allowed to meet Charles once a week to have sex, such was Charles’ power over the guards in the jail.
- In the fall of 1983, she published a book called ‘Je Reviens’ in which she claimed to be a victim of Sobhraj’s conspiracy and denied being a murderer. She even claimed that she never loved Charles.
- Although she claimed that she was also a victim of Charles Sobhraj, it is debatable whether she was a victim or an accomplice. The La Presse journalist Huguette Laprise, who traveled to Asia three time for the story and initially sympathized with Marie, gave her 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, archived footage of her interview was shown in the TV documentary ‘Interpol Investigates The Serpent.’
- In 2021, a British TV series titled ‘The Serpent’ was released on Netflix and BBC One. The series is based on the life of Charles Sobhraj. Marie was also featured in the film as a lead character, and her role was played by the English actress Jenna Coleman in the series.