In 2008, a Dutchman named Jacobus Van Nierop set up a dental practice in the small French town of Chateau-Chinon.
This remote region of France, in Burgundy, didn’t have many medical services, so the locals welcomed him, the Associated Press reported. But people in Chateau-Chinon didn’t know that Jacobus Van Nierop had faked the documents that allowed him to practice dentistry in the country.
They also didn’t know that Jacobus Van Nierop, 51, had been under investigation in his own country over a dental practice he’d set up there, according to Agence France-Presse.
But they flocked to him with the typical complaints, likely grateful to have a dentist in town to tend to their sore teeth. Jacobus Van Nierop allegedly overcharged them for his services and for procedures he didn’t perform, and he purposely maimed his patients’ mouths so they’d have to come back for more appointments.
'Butcher' Dentist Jacobus Van Nierop On Trial https://t.co/MWHZQO3pRl— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 9, 2016
One of those patients is 80-year-old Bernard Hugon. He said after “tearing” out a tooth, Jacobus Van Nierop left “pieces of flesh hanging everywhere.” Nicole Martin lost several teeth to abscesses thanks to the dentist.
“Every time, he would give us what he called ‘a little prick’ and we were asleep, knocked out. When it was over, we would find a Post-it note saying to come back for an appointment the next day or the day after.”
Jacobus Van Nierop, the so-called “horror dentist,” allegedly mutilated the mouths of more than 100 people in Chateau-Chinon between 2009 to 2013 while living in a luxurious house outside of town and racking up debts in the millions.
Over 50 of his unfortunate patients are now seeking damages for the mutilation they suffered at Jacobus Van Nierop’s hands. They’re complaining of having multiple healthy teeth pulled out, tools left behind in their teeth, abscesses, infections, misshapen mouths, broken jaws, and septicaemia.
A French court is currently hearing the case; the trial started Tuesday and is expected to last until March 18. He could spend 10 years in prison and be fined $413,000 if convicted. He’s charged with aggravated assault and fraud.
One of his alleged victims is Sylviane Boulesteix. She visited Jacobus Van Nierop in 2012. There, he yanked out eight of her teeth and affixed dentures on her raw and bleeding gums. She sat there, bleeding profusely, for three hours. The dentist refused to treat her pain in the days following and Sylviane suffered irreversible damage to her mouth.
Jacobus Van Nierop probably doesn’t remember her, or so he’s claimed to investigators. He’s said he remembers only one of the more than 100 patients whom he allegedly mutilated.
When asked about their suffering, he said, “It does not affect me.”
“I’m totally blocked from the inside and I don’t want to explain it all. You can lock me up for years (…) it will not change.”
During the investigation into his dental practice, Jacobus Van Nierop would only say that the locals’ dental health was “deplorable.”
Jacobus Van Nierop has done everything in his power to avoid his moment in court. When his scheme was finally discovered in Burgundy and his arrest imminent, he fled to a small town in New Brunswick, Canada. His discovery there caused a stir with the locals — the man tried to slit his own throat to avoid capture.
“There was a trail of blood in the hallway of our building. He cut himself really bad. It’s horrifying. Everyone is in shock. All the folks in town are talking about it,” a neighbor told the Local.
He was extradited to the Netherlands and deported to France. To avoid extradition, Jacobus Van Nierop has since claimed to have killed his first wife, suffer from borderline personality disorder, gender identity issues, and suicidal tendencies. Detained in a French prison since January 2015, he’s gone on hunger and thirst strikes and swallowed razor blades to avoid talking to the judge.
[Photo by Christophe Masson/AP]