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Federal Bureau of Investigation defined serial killing as a series of two or more murders, each one of them done as a separate occurrence, in most of the cases, they all will be done by one offender only. The motives of serial killing are not always the same, in most of the cases, the motive is psychological gratification. In several instances, the motive is said to be anger, thrill-seeking, financial gain, attention seeking etc. All these murders either can be attempted or done in a similar procedure. Another important factor that commonly associates with serial killing is that all the victims normally will be having some common parameter. The following part of the write-up discusses a brief biography of the serial killer, along with a brief biography of the serial killer a reflection is provided to give the reasoning for the motive responsible for the killing. The serial killer selected for this presentation is Charles Sobhraj who is responsible for killings a few decades back. He was very notorious for prison breaks and termed as serpent for his intuition and intelligence capabilities. An insight is given in the write-up emphasizes the events in his child life and personal life, which might be responsible for this peculiar behavior. A brief overview of the crimes and murders committed by Charles Sobhraj is presented. Subsequently, on analysis of his life in early stages as well during different times of his life journey, inferences are provided as reasons for his unique behavior in life and serial killing attitude.
Overview of Charles Sobhraj early life:
Full name of Sobhraj is Hatchand Bhaonani Gurumukh Charles, he is Indian and Vietnamese by birth, however by adoption he is national of French. He is implicated in about a dozen murders and numerous other crimes. He was born to an Indian expatriate and a Vietnamese wife, who had a very short married life. His father abandoned both his wife and young Charles, shortly after their marriage. Subsequently, he was adopted by his mother's boyfriend a French lieutenant, who was serving in Indochina at that time. Charles never experienced true parental love in his child life. He does have a long relationship with his real father and also his adopted father did not show the expected affection on him for a long time. After getting birth to his half-siblings, Charles was totally neglected by his adopted father as well as his mother. Further, his family never settled in one place. They used to move from France to Indochina half of their time. As a child, Charles tried several times to escape from his parents' home in France. He tried to escape on the sea, and traveled as long as to Djibouti in his attempt to escape from his parents. In one way, Charles is quite strong, the absence of love and belongingness, forced Charles to find his own way of comfort and security. In very early stages he developed an attitude of risking to get what he wants in life.
There are several evidences and investigations in the literature, which emphasized that the child-hood experiences can result in criminal behaviour in adolescence. For example, Charles Sobhraj experienced very severe bullying in his childhood, which might have resulted in wrath and anti-social tendencies in later years. Moore et al(2017) have done meta analysis of several cases available in the literature and indicated that there is intense correlation between bullying victimization and wide range of adverse health and psychosocial problems. Tzoumakis et al (2018) indicated that intergenerational transmission of certain traits can be seen particularly in the adolescent children. Charles parents can be noticed as little irresponsible and they did paid less attention towards the welfare and emotional needs of Charles. Similar attitude of irresponsibility can be observed in Charles which might be due to intergenerational transmission as well. Batool et al (2017) informed that paternal malparenting do have intense impact over the personality disorders in the later years. Wolf et al (2017) indicated that there is considerable impact of child hood experiences over recidivism in juveniles. There is strong relation to the childhood negative experiences and re-offending nature of juveniles. Observations of Cicerali & Cicerali (2018) indicated that there is strong relation between defective parenting and the actual youth delingquency. They did critical evaluation of the criminology theories and found that there is relation between defective parenting and the delinquency in children. Charles experienced neglect, parental mal adaption as well as school bullying in his child hood. Further there are several instances in his childhood where he is exposed to intense racial suppression. All these factors subsequently impacted Charles attitude of delinquency and recidivism. Further there are incidental associations witnessed in the Charles life progression. There are several occasions where he got interactions with the underworld criminals and people with intense criminal attitudes, these environmental factors catalyzed already criminal spirits of Charles and this led to serial killing and robberies.
Loss of parental love and decent family life, spoiled the attitude of Charles as kid itself, he started committing petty thefts as early as in teenage itself. Also, his experiences of racial bullying in school in Paris made his become antisocial as well. In later days his addiction for lavish life and casino plays made him stretch towards robberies and killings for money. He made a burglary as a juvenile and sentenced to prison at poissy prison in Paris. This is the time Charles got an acquaintance with some of the antisocial elements of Paris; Escogne a volunteer in the prison got acquainted with Charles during this time and allowed him to stay in his house after the release of Charles from prison. He made him introduced to several high profile figures of Paris as well with criminals of the underworld. A young lady Compognon, who was loyal to him during his prison days, married him after his release. The couple involved in several crimes subsequently, there were several occasions where they involved in conning foreigners of their money and valuables. They returned to Mumbai and Sobraj vehemently involved in criminal activities thereafter. He involved in car thefts, smuggling business and became notorious gambler too. He got involved in a bank robbery and got arrested at this time. Later the couple went to Kabul and continued their criminal activities, where he was caught and fled to Iran. This is the same time, when Compognon deserted Charles and left to France with her daughter a lead a decent life. His brother Andre also joined him in crimes at this time and they involved in crimes in Greece and Turkey till they got caught. Charles managed to escape from there again, however, his brother was detained.
Charles first victim of murder is Teresa Knowlton. She was an American and he knew him very well before killing her. She was killed in a pool in the Gulf of Thailand. His second victim is Vitali Hakim, whose burnt body was found near Pattaya resort. He strangled two Dutch students and later Hakim's French girlfriend, who came there in search of him. Later he killed several people in South East Asia. He killed Canadian Laurent Carriere and American Connie Bronzich, Israeli Avoni Jacob and French Jean Luc Solomon. All of them were killed either in South East Asia viz., India and its surroundings.
There are several arrests and prison breaks by Charles, till got arrested in Nepal. He was given life sentences in Nepal and the supreme court of Nepal upheld this verdict. Charles never felt guilty of his crimes; crimes and murders are part of his lifetime. He lived lavish life throughout his life; he used to charge heavily for media, novel makers and movie makers.
Reflection on his criminal attitude:
One of the key observations that is unique from Charles life, is the loss of love and affection. Right from his childhood he never experienced true love from his own father or from his adopted father. His circumstances are like that; unfortunately, he was deserted by his own mother as well. These are fundamental causes that enabled Charles to develop a sense of irresponsibility and anti-social mentality. These perversions made him involve in robberies at very early stages in life. In later times, his association with criminals from the underworld in Paris made him more and more vulnerable to crimes and antisocial activities. Another important development in his life is his marriage with Compognon. She is another criminal lady and never tried to keep him on right track, rather helped him to lead crimes in his life, till she left him for Paris for a decent life. By this time, Charles attitude is totally corrupted and he lost moralities and ethics. Murders became a very easy emotional gratifying activity for him and also it also helped him to gain valuables and money to lead a lavish life. Charles has exceptional charm, which is highly lethal and helped him a lot to lure the innocents very easily. His association with criminals like Chowdhary also worked on to give him sufficient support in killings and loots. Hence two factors, the first is the impact of his child life and the second is the impact of his environment badly shaped his destiny. He got damaged irrecoverably. He never felt moralities, ethics and guilt in his deed. All this enabled him to lead a serial killer life.
Crime is there in the blood of Charles. Both on official and unofficial counts, he killed altogether about 32 people, most of them are women. Further, there are about 5 jailbreak cases from Charles. Charles has a unique striving toward liberty. He broke out jails several times, but looks like he has a desire for incarceration. He looks like yearn life from outside the prison. Charles if was brought up in decent child life and if enjoyed which a common child expects from his family like a loving father and mother and decent play life, he would not have turned out to become so social and ruthless. Another important element in his evolution as a serial killer is the external environmental factors, his unexpected interactions with several antisocial elements in France, his criminal minded wife and accomplices all added upto to sustain his criminal activities and brutal murders. His exceptional charm and duping love, allowed him to make friends with anyone and later allowed him to befriend and either rob or kill. His skills, intelligence and talent would have worked well constructively if he developed in a normal case of life. Unfortunately, Charles Sobhraj is a victim of circumstances and developed into a spoiled kid and talented lethal charmist who turned up into a serial killer due to provocating circumstances and contributing co-agents of crime.
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