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‘Bikini killer’ Sobhraj convicted in murder case

Kathmandu: Bikini killer Charles Sobhraj, who is accused with myriad charges, has been convicted as the Nepal Supreme Court pronounced its decision on the 7-year long trial on Friday. It upheld Sobhraj’s life sentence.

Sobhraj was found guilty in a murder case that dates back to 1975. Holding Sobhraj guilty in the murder case the apex court said that there was enough evidence provided by the prosecution against Sobhraj.

Sobhraj was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of an American backpacker by the Kathmandu district court in 2004 for the murder of an American tourist Connie Jo Bronzich in Nepal.

He killed Connie in 1975 and then fled from Nepal. Sobhraj’s role is suspected in 12 murder cases across Asia but his tryst with Nepalese law began at the Manohara bridge near Koteshwar in Kathmandu about 32 years ago.

After several trysts with the law in scores of other countries, Sobharaj returned to Nepal in 2003, only to be arrested and convicted in the Bronzich murder case. Unfazed Charles appealed in the Supreme Court which initially sent the case back to the lower courts for re-trial on technical grounds.

However, Sobhraj received his first jail sentence for burglary in 1963 in Paris. Facing mounting suspicions by French authorities, he and his pregnant wife Chantal left France for Asia to escape arrest. They arrived in Mumbai in 1970 and he resumed his criminal lifestyle by running a car theft and smuggling operation.

Moreover, in 1970, Sobhraj was arrested and imprisoned after an unsuccessful armed robbery attempt on a jewellery store in Hotel Ashoka. He was released on bail and soon after fled to Kabul. He was arrested again there, but escaped and fled to Iran leaving his family behind. Then came the murders – his first victim was a young woman from Seattle, US who was found drowned in a tidal pool in the Gulf of Thailand wearing a bikini – giving him the infamous nickname the “bikini killer”.

“He is confident of the evidence prosecution that has placed on record and is hopeful that the case will be decided upon tomorrow itself and not see any more adjournments,” said prosecution lawyer Sree Krishna Bhattarai.

The Supreme Court on July 14, 2010 postponed the final verdict on Charles Sobhraj case. The two judges hearing the case said they were not able to go through the complete arguments submitted by the prosecution and Sobhraj’s lawyers within the given time. It was the third time that the court has put off announcing its final sentence on the murder of Connie Jo Bronzich in 1975.

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