'Horror dentist' jailed for eight years in France after mutilating at least 100 patients

Jacobus Van Nierop's victims had multiple healthy teeth removed and drill bits left in their gums and teeth

Caroline Mortimer
Tuesday 26 April 2016 18:00 BST
A handout photo of Dr Jacobus Van Nierop. The Dutchman had previously been the subject of disciplinary proceedings in the Netherlands before he arrived in France
A handout photo of Dr Jacobus Van Nierop. The Dutchman had previously been the subject of disciplinary proceedings in the Netherlands before he arrived in France (AP)

A dentist has been jailed for eight years in France after leaving patients with broken jaws, recurrent abscesses and septicaemia.

Jacobus van Nierop was also banned from practising as a dentist and fined €10,500 after he performed “useless and painful procedures” on about 100 patients to get money from medical insurance schemes.

Prosecutor Lucile Jaillon-Bru told the court in Nevers, central France, that Dutchman van Nierop “took pleasure in causing pain” to his victims.

The court heard how the 52-year-old, dubbed the “horror dentist” by French media, left many of his patients with “mutilations” or “permanent disabilities” between 2009 and 2012.

The complaints filed against him included him removing multiple healthy teeth, leaving drill bits in gums and teeth, causing abscesses and recurrent infections and disfiguring mouths.

One patient, 65-year-old Sylviane Boulesteix, testified that she was unexpectedly summoned to his dental office in May 2012 where he pulled eight of her teeth out and immediately fixed dentures on her raw gums.

She said she sat for hours with her gums “gushing blood” and claimed that in the following few days van Nierop had refused her pain relief.

A judicial expert said Ms Boulesteix had lost several health teeth and suffered irreversible damage to her mouth.

Victims at the trial of 'horror dentist' Jacobus Van Nierop in central France (Getty Images)

The court heard how van Nierop had forged documents to practice dentistry in France after being the subject of disciplinary proceedings in the Netherlands.

After being discovered in late 2013, van Nierop fled to Canada before being extradited back to the Netherlands then deported to France.

In their 130-page ruling, the judges convicted van Nierop of 85 counts of assault, including 45 counts of mutilation, and of 61 counts of fraud against patients, their health insurance companies and the local social security agency.

He was acquitted of six other counts of assault.

Van Nierop has 10 days to file an appeal and will face a ruling in June on the amount of damages due to 62 of the plaintiffs.

But despite living in a large home with a swimming pool and driving expensive cars, the Dutchman had debts of nearly €1m according to court documents - leading to fears that he could be declared bankrupted before the plaintiffs can claim a cent.

One of his victims, Marie-Jo Lemoine, said: "It's silly to say that but I say it: It feels good. He will have time to think about us. But, as for the rest, nothing has changed regarding what we'll be given in terms of compensation. It won't be enough to repair the harm he caused."

Evidence collected against Van Nierop at his trial (Getty Images)

In her closing speech to the court, Ms Jaillon-Bru said that for van Nierop "there was only greed, indifference to another, even some enjoyment in making others suffer" and that for the victims "the price of pain is enormous."

She said his only goal was “to make more money”.

Defending van Nierop, lawyer Delphine Morin-Meneghel said he had carried out some bad procedures but had never intended to cause harm.

After hearing the verdict the Dutchman showed no emotion in court.

Psychiatrists evaluating Van Nierop said he had demonstrated a narcissistic pervert personality with an absence of all moral sense and said he did not appear to show any compassion.

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