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Channel 4 investigators say Charles Sobhraj can still be charged with two murders

What did you miss?

The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer (Channel 4)
The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer concluded that Charles Sobhraj can still be investigated for the killing of Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker (Channel 4)

Charles Sobhraj, known as The Serpent, could still be investigated for the murders of Henk Bintanja and Cornelia Hemker which he is believed to have committed in 1975, despite the statute of limitations passing in Thailand.

The convicted murderer appears in Channel 4 documentary The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer, where he denied allegations he has murdered anyone. He is a suspected serial killer and is believed to have committed 20 murders, 14 of which were in Thailand.

Sobhraj previously confessed to ten murders for a book written by Richard Neville and Julie Clarke in 1979, but retracted his statement and has since said he has never killed anyone. In the documentary, two retired detectives have re-examined the evidence against him around the deaths of five people: Bintanja, Hemker, Teresa Knowlton, Vitali Hakim, and Stephanie Parry.


What, how, and why?

The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer (Channel 4)
The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer revealed Dutch authorities can investigate the killings of Dutch citizens without being hindered by a statute of limitations. (Channel 4)

Sobhraj was convicted of the murders of Connie Jo Bronzich and Laurent Carrière in Nepal in 2002, and he served a 19-year prison sentence from 2002 to 2023. He was also imprisoned in India between 1976 to 1997 for poisoning several people, and during this prison stint the statute of limitations for the killings in Thailand —for which he would have faced the death penalty— had expired.

The Channel 4 documentary saw Sobhraj face interrogation about the five aforementioned murders he is believed to have committed in Thailand, he continued to deny any involvement in the murders even when faced with evidence of having connections to them.

At the end of the three-part docu-series it was revealed that Sobhraj could still be investigated for the killings of Bintanja and Hemker. Gary Copson, one of the retired detectives investigating Sobhraj for the documentary, called the filmmakers to inform him of this.

The conversation was included at the end of the third episode, Copson said: "It's about the Thai murders and the fact our subject has evaded justice in Thailand as a result of the statute of limitations, and it occurred to me that the Dutch can pursue the murder of Dutch citizens anywhere in the world.

The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer (Channel 4)
Charles Sobhraj is a suspected serial killer and is believed to have committed 20 murders, 14 of which were in Thailand. He previously confessed to ten murders but retracted his statement. (Channel 4)

"Also [there's] no statute of limitation but a public interest test, the murders of Cornelia and Henk are simply atrocious, so they could get these murders that were committed in Thailand into court. It feels really important to me, I'm not suggesting we should do this but we must do this."

The documentary concludes with the revelation that the show's experts will be giving a "file containing details of their findings to the Dutch authorities and international criminal justice agencies", which means Sobhraj could potentially be tried for Bintanja and Hemker's deaths.

As of right now, Sobhraj remains a free citizen and has not been charged with their murders and he has denied killing anyone.


What else happened on The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer?

The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer (Channel 4)
Charles Sobhraj also spoke with forensic psychologist Paul Britton, who said he still believes the criminal is a danger to society. (Channel 4)

Sobhraj faced a six-hour interrogation with detectives Copson and Jackie Malton, who presented him with evidence that showed his links to the five murders they investigated, including property that was found in his former accommodation in Thailand. The interrogation ended with Sobhraj saying he would sue the detectives and "see [them] in court".

He said after: "They had nothing, they wanted to make something out of nothing. And I believe that they had no facts to rely on, and they were courting the people making money with my name."

Sobhraj also spoke with forensic psychologist Paul Britton, who concluded that the convicted murderer was still a danger to society and he felt he had "a personalty characterised by the dark triad" of narcissism, machiavellianism, and psychopathy. He added: "I think you were a dangerous person, I think you still are, I haven't seen anything that shows to me that you changed."

The Real Serpent: Investigating a Serial Killer is available on Channel 4 now.


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