A Dutch dentist nicknamed "The Butcher" has been sentenced to eight years in prison and banned from ever working in the profession again after he was convicted of subjecting dozens of patients in a remote French town to gruesome and unnecessary procedures.
The dentist, Jacobus Van Nierop, faced charges in the criminal court in the central French town of Nevers, about 150 miles south of Paris. During his trial in March, prosecutor Lucile Jaillon-Bru described Van Nierop's brand of dentistry as a "health disaster," and said the doctor mutilated scores of people for profit.
Of the nearly 100 victims who came forward, 53 had suffered "mutilations" at the hands of the dentist, the prosecutor said. Another 20 were ruled to be cases of "premeditated violence." Dubbed the "dentist of horror" by French media, Van Nierop was acquitted of charges involving six other alleged victims.
Van Nierop was temporarily banned from dentistry in the Netherlands because of malpractice claims, but patients in the picturesque French town of Château-Chinon welcomed him with open arms when a recruiter brought him to the region in 2008 to replace a local dentist who had retired two years earlier. Described as friendly by the locals, the new dentist seemed particularly zealous in his practice, boasting of treating "between 18 and 26 patients a day," and sometimes tending to several patients simultaneously.
According to France Inter, French authorities didn't start investigating until 2012, when they noticed that Van Nierop was pulling out twice as many teeth as his colleagues in the region.
After swapping horror stories of surgeries gone wrong, dodgy procedures, and mounting bills, the dentist's victims formed a collective in 2013 to file complaints against him. Former patients have reported abscesses, healthy teeth that were pulled out for no apparent reason, cases of septicemia, facial paralysis, pieces of tools left in teeth, misshapen mouths, and an anesthesia-induced heart attack.
Van Nierop was arrested and placed under court supervision in 2013, but was able to flee to Canada. He was arrested in Canada in 2014, and extradited first to the Netherlands. In a failed attempt to avoid extradition to France, he claimed insanity, and told authorities he had murdered his first wife.
During his trial in March, the disgraced dentist shocked victims when he admitted that he wasn't "interested in people." He answered "no comment" to many of the questions during the hearing.
In addition to the prison sentence and work ban, the French court also fined Van Nierop 10,500 euros ($11,900). A new court hearing scheduled for June will determine the damages that will be paid out to his victims.
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